Six years after it was irrevocably damaged in an arson attack, Fishersgate’s very own millennium dome is facing a new future.
A planning application which would see the dome, on Fishersgate Recreation Ground, demolished and a new community facility built, has been submitted to Adur District Council.
Last month, the Herald reported the council and Fishersgate Community Association (FCA) were at loggerheads, as a promise of a £250,000 investment in the centre, made more than a year ago, had not been forthcoming.
The application was submitted this week, and Peter Averillo, chairman of FCA, said of the applications: “It is a good start. At long last we seem to be getting somewhere.”
Work to resurface the centre’s outdoor roller rink, which Adur was ordered to fund when it lost a legal battle over who kept the insurance money paid out after the arson attack though, had not yet been started, Peter added.
As the materials used in the process were water-based, he said, the work needed to be done in the summer.
“We have run out of time for this season,” he told the Herald, “we will now have to wait until spring next year.”
A spokeswoman for the council, though, said the work would be carried out shortly, and that the delay had been caused by the procurement of the work being passed from FCA to Adur in September.
She added: “The contractors were unable to start the work this week due to the weather as no part of the surfacing system can be installed in wet conditions. They have advised that if the weather breaks next week they will make a start on the site and the works will take between two to three weeks to complete.
“The contractors are on stand-by and will make a start as soon as the weather permits.”
Members of the council’s planning committee will decided on the centre’s redevelopment in the coming months.
If approved, the plans would see the dome, hailed as Adur’s answer to the Millennium Dome when construction started in the late 1990s, but never finished, pulled down.
In its place, a new link building would connect the two existing wings, which would undergo refurbishment.
A design and access statement, submitted as part of the application, said: “The dome structure and southern wing are unused as they are incomplete and unsafe for community purposes.
“The future use of the refurbished and partially re-built unit will provide the same function with an improved internal layout, functioning and accessible toilets, a new kitchen and changing areas, and will include the provision of a central entrance foyer forming a café area.”
Peter said the facility had the potential to be a hub for the community. “Fishersgate, deserves that,” he told the Herald. “I think the centre would pull the community together, it will give the community a base. It will encourage people to take part in healthy activities.”
Despite the dome being out of use, the centre is still used by a number of community groups, and one of the wings is often hired out as a party venue.
The centre will also be offering computer training courses in the coming months, thanks to a grant of more than £2,000 from West Sussex County Council.
To view the plans, reference AWDM/1124/1, or to make a comment, go to www.adur.gov.uk