Architects have now been appointed following a six month consultation on how best to develop the semi-derelict Fellowship Inn pub in Bellingham.
Phoenix Community Housing consulted with more than 1,400 people on plans to renovate the 1920’s grade II listed building after being awarded a potential £3.8 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
While the public house remains open, much of the site is in disrepair and has the potential to provide new community facilities for the area.
The renovation project will create 70 jobs and lots of opportunities for training and volunteering for local people. A team of community volunteers have already given over 120 hours of their time to support the consultation, which was designed to ensure that renovation plans reflect the wishes of the local community. They engaged with people at local train stations, community events, through online questionnaires and from a pop-up shop.
There were many ideas for how best to develop The Fellowship Inn, and the consultation results show that top of the list is a cinema. Respondents said they currently have to travel to other areas to watch a film, with some going as far as Surrey Quays and Orpington. With New Cross getting the first cinema in the borough in 15 years it will be great to have one at this end of the borough too.
Other ideas for rejuvenating the building include a pub, a microbrewery, a restaurant and café, a theatre, a live music and comedy venue, and a music hub.
Jim Ripley, Chief Executive of Phoenix said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have received such a positive response to our plans and I’d like to personally thank everyone who gave us their views, as well as our brilliant volunteers who gave up their time to support the consultation.”
“The Fellowship Inn will be a big part of this community, and we have been working hard to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have their say about how they would like to see the building used.”
Through the consultation 1 in 3 people signed up to volunteer which means the project will continue to be shaped by the local community.
The architects Thomas Ford and Partners specialise in historic buildings and have experience in conservation and heritage projects.
Plans for community and heritage projects are also being developed. Anyone wishing to get involved can be kept up to date with the project by visiting www.phoenixch.org.uk or following us on twitter @phoenixtogether #FellowshipInn