A town’s call for a large community space has been answered, and it has come in the form of a building no one wanted to buy at an auction.
The former St John’s Ambulance Hall on Lower Bore Street, in Bodmin has lay derelict for as long as up to 30 years with varying plans for its future not coming to fruition.
Having been bought by property development duo Robin Askwith and Mark Williams a few years prior, the original plan upon purchase had been to develop the long unused building into dwellings, a plan that fell by the wayside after the funding required to undertake the plans did not come to fruition.
After the plans to turn the building into residential accommodation fell through, Mark and Robin made several attempts to sell the building through auctions, only for no one to purchase it at each attempt, leaving them with a building in limbo.
It was after an approach by the Bodmin musical theatre group looking for their own venue that Mark and Robin were overcome with an idea of a philanthropic nature; create a venue which could be Bodmin’s own mini equivalent of a Hall for Cornwall. The idea comes a few years after the public hall venue in the town, owned by Bodmin Town Council, was sold to the Merlin Cinema chain.
Once completed, the duo plan to utilise the centre as a space where community groups, individuals and event organisers can hire and host events for both a private and public audience, ranging from comedy to music in addition to events such as charity bake sales, group gatherings and even weddings and other ceremonies.
The venue will also feature a space available for youth groups and a commercial kitchen capable of hosting functions, although this will come as part of further phases of the development to come in the near future.
After the performances from the Bodmin musical theatre group, it is anticipated that the new community hall for Bodmin will officially open in the autumn of 2023.