End of February update . . .

Earlier in the month I reported that the public engagement sessions presenting the draft plans for ‘The Hub’ had gone very well.  Around 100 people passed through, discussing their ideas and concerns with representatives from Pentan Architects, MCC officers and members of the MUCH group.  Many also completed the feedback forms (often as couples) and, from a cursory examination, the general opinion was very favourable.

We have since been able to analyse the data feedback forms in detail and are now preparing to meet the architects to discuss the findings.

In summary the highlights were as follows –

  • Functionality of proposals – 77% thought it met or exceeded expectation
  • Build quality – Similarly 76% thought it met or exceeded expectation
  • Appearance – 69% thought it met or exceeded expectation but a significant number of people thought it looked ‘too agricultural’ and not in keeping with the villages. We will ask the architects to try to address these concerns
  • Internal and external facilities – 68% thought it met or exceeded expectations. Comments centred around giving greater focus on what the young people need from The Hub.
  • Management and operation of the site – Great importance was stressed on site security, CCTV, external lighting and the future management of the car park
  • Maintenance of the building – A small majority of people (52%) thought the design would impact positively or very positively on maintenance (i.e. low cost) but, possibly because the proposed external facing of the building being wood, around 40% of people were unsure or undecided. This matter will be discussed further with the architects
  • Impact on the community – There was a high demand for road safety measures to be put in place (95% thinking this was important or very important) and similarly there was a degree of concern thinking that the proposals would have a negative effect on traffic and road safety, 38% and 46% respectively. These concerns will be considered further and discussed with the appropriate authorities during the planning approval process. On the positive side, around 80% thought it would have high or very high positive impact on health, well-being and community spirit
  • Inclusive and accessible design – There was high degree of importance attached to consideration of access by road (and associated safety), walking to open spaces and walking to local facilities. Again this matter will be discussed with the appropriate authorities (e.g. Future Generations Commission, Sustrans and the Planning Authority). It is also proposed that detailed designs will be shared with diversity and equality groups for formal feedback and to seek building and site access improvements.
  • Landscaping – There was strong emphasis placed on formal landscaping including trees, hedges and other plants. However there was also considerable support for areas for informal growing and playground equipment.
  • Sustainability – There was a high degree of support for including ‘sustainable methods’ in the design and operation of the site. Particular emphasis was placed on including solar power on the roof, rainwater harvesting and tree planting. These and other possibilities of taking a sustainable approach will be discussed with the architects with the aim of achieving a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certificate of excellence

Again can I thank all for taking the time to comment and especially to those have recently offered their assistance in the further development of the facility and its operation in the future.

Our next meeting, when we will finalise the feedback to the architects, (agenda here) will be held on 6th March, 5.45 pm at Innovation House (MCC Offices), Wales 1, Magor.



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