Update plans for a ‘well-loved friend’

Design for the Well Street Centre, Buckingham, March 2012
Design for the Well Street Centre, Buckingham, March 2012

“WE’RE bringing a well-loved friend into the 21st century,” said the architect behind the redesign of Buckingham’s Well Street Centre.

Catherine Yeatman, of Oxford-based architects ADP, was explaining the plans for the revamped centre at a public exhibition at Buckingham Library yesterday, Thursday.

She said: “Even without the emotional connections people have got with it, it’s a lovely, distinctive building in the centre of Buckingham.

“Those Victorians really knew what they were doing. Even on a dull day, there’s lots of light and space.”

She said her company had tried to keep what was good about the building, while improving on its shortcomings, such as the toilets, which she said were “completely out of date”.

Improvements will also be made to the levels of the building, and a bigger entrance created to the side.

At the rear, which is south-facing, a new garden will be created with level access and a circular path, overlooking the river.

“Why not take advantage of that location?” said Ms Yeatman. “It’s a missed trick at the moment.”

The revamped Well Street Centre is not due to reopen until Autumn 2014.

It will be one of six new Day Opportunity Centres in the county, where day services will be provided for those people with the highest level of need.

A single provider will take over the running of all six centres from April 2013. This is currently out to tender.

Other service users will purchase community-based services using the individual budget they receive from the county council, with the help of specially trained support brokers.

Service providers setting out their stalls at Thursday’s meeting included Chilworth Care, a private company that already provides day opportunities for people with learning difficulties in High Wycombe.

A spokesman said: “We’re looking to come into Buckingham. We’ve had it highlighted that there’s a real need in this area.”