PLANS to build a £3 million new community centre in Wallingford have been unveiled.

Wallingford Town Council has been looking for a way to replace the Regal Centre since it was closed in September 2017.

Now the council has drawn up plans for a new centre on the same site, to replace the former cinema which was used to house community activities, a food market and the blues and beer festival.

Read again: Here about when the Regal Centre closed unexpectedly in 2017

Councillors are currently asking the public for their opinions on a ‘new Regal Centre’, and have released design drawings by ADP Architects, based in Oxford, to show what they hope the new building could look like.

Lee Upcraft, mayor of Wallingford, said: “This is an important building for the town.

"It has housed up to 400 or 500 people and we know it has been much missed since we closed it a couple of years ago. We are very keen to see it replaced.

"It is at the heart of the community and serves the surrounding villages as well as the town.”

Oxford Mail:

Wallingford mayor, Lee Upcraft. Picture: Ed Nix.

He said the council was hoping to submit a planning application towards the end of the year, but wants more public feedback on the concept beforehand.

The massive plans come after an initial public consultation in January 2018 which showed there was demand for a new community centre in the town.

In the town council’s October newsletter, it invited residents to attend a public meeting about the Regal Centre on either Friday, November 8, between 3pm and 7pm, or Saturday, November 9, between 10am and noon at the town hall.

The council wants the new hall to be able to hold 400 people standing, or 220 seated.

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It also plans to move the town council offices the new building.

According to the newsletter, this will ‘provide modern, cost effective, office space which is easily accessible’ and the sale of the existing council office will allow investment in the new building.

Meeting rooms will also be available for public hire.

Oxford Mail:

Inside the old Regal Centre. Picture: Mark Hemsworth.

The building is estimated to cost around £3 million and is intended to be built on the site of the old Regal Centre.

Mr Upcraft added that the Goldsmith’s Lane car park, where the old building is situated, is an important link to the town centre and the council wanted to regenerate the area with a modern, attractive building.

The decision to close the Regal Centre in 2017 shocked community groups using it and left them looking for new homes.