Is the Gatehouse a listed building?
No, but it is an attractive building built around 1905.
How big is the building?
The 80m2 ground floor room would be just under 9m x 9m, around 29 feet by 29 feet. For comparison, the main part of the St Matthew’s Church Hall is 84m2 (but with a higher ceiling), similar to the Sturton St Methodist Chapel’s Hall (85m2 excluding the stage).
Will the building be accessible to everyone?
Absolutely, yes. We are requiring 100% accessibility including a lift. Fully accessible, fully inclusive – this is a building for everyone.
When will it be ready?
We don’t quite know. The council is in a rush due to some funding time limits, so it will be within four years, but we don’t know how soon within that.
What kinds of rooms will it have?
Help us decide by completing the survey! We hope the largest room will be around 80m2, although with some pillars. All rooms will have easy access to a small kitchen and toilets.
Who will run activities?
We intend PACT should organize a toddler group and older people’s coffee morning etc. ourselves. Otherwise, the space is available to rent – but we intend to work to fill gaps in local provision. Scouts and Guides are examples of the kind of use which has nowhere else to go in Petersfield because facilities aren’t available at the right place, time or with the right access to open space. We will also make the space available for parties, half term activities, exhibitions and more.
Is the new YMCA providing rooms too?
Yes, but the depot development requires new, dedicated community facilities – an obligation
which would be tricky for the YMCA to handle given its own charitable aims. With PACT leasing this building, it becomes a charitable asset primarily for the benefit of the local community and can never be taken away from the area. Petersfield has lost out time and time again without this. For example, The Howard Mallett building, which was a community facility is now leased to The Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts, who have begun charging up to £45/hour despite assurances about community use.
The Gatehouse would compliment the space that the YMCA will offer.
Are you competing with other community spaces?
We are aiming to complement existing facilities, not compete, by working now with providers and members of the local community to make a space which really works for what people want, but can’t find local space for. We’ll build in storage, have access to a small open space, have well designed lighting, and more – to enrich this area of Cambridge.
How much will it cost to hire rooms?
The Centre will need to be self funded. We would like all use will be relevant to local residents but it will vary between “commercial” classes and uses, not-for profit community use, and more-or-less free things like toddler groups. It’s likely to be similar to other community centres, but as a community charity we want to encourage new activities and enable the community to try new things.
We are developing a business plan which we will publish on our website soon.
What will happen to PACT?
PACT has always has a constitutional aim to found a new community centre, and became a registered charity for that purpose. We would probably go one step further and become a CIO – a Charitable Incorporated Organization – which would mean PACT could sign a lease in its own right, and the trustees would be more like the directors of a company. PACT would run the new centre and other activities for the benefit of the local community. With more volunteer help PACT would very much like to continue the annual summer event on St Matthews Piece.
The modern "link" building between Bharat Bhavan (the former free library) and the Gatehouse will be removed.