Bigger buzz plea over Beehive

Honiton Town Council to raise more public awareness about the Beehive community centre.

Council officials in Honiton were surprised to discover that local residents seemed to ‘know little’ about the town’s new community centre, which is currently under construction.

Honiton Town Council says it will now look at raising more public awareness of the Beehive, which was last estimated to cost approximately £1.85million.

Councillor Vernon Whitlock, who is the chairman of the directors of the Beehive, told a meeting last week that the town council had received positive feedback when it had a stand at Honiton Show.

He said: “Honiton Show was an extremely positive event. It was refreshing to hear so many positive comments and so few negative ones. The surprising bit was that a lot of people had never heard of the Beehive. We will be working a lot harder to promote it.”

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The deputy mayor, Councillor Peter Halse, said that better signage or notices were needed at the centre to let people know what it is.

‘Expert’ groups made up of volunteers are working with directors to look at areas such as catering, volunteering, programming, sound and lighting. An action plan has also been drawn up for the centre.

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An official launch is planned for the second week of February 2014 with a five-day programme of events.

Councillor Whitlock said in his report that discussions were continuing with those interested in leasing the office space and that a number of local groups have provisionally booked room space.

There have also been enquires from county and national organisations about hiring the building.

The town council heard that a Beehive logo has been adopted and a new website will be up and running in the coming months, which will have an online booking facility for events.

Councillor John Zarczynski said: “As you all know the project when it started got a lot of criticism about the money being spent. Wetherspoon has just spent £1.66million on renovating a pub.

“For more or less the same money we are building a community complex that is far bigger, very environmentally friendly and a modern building for the community. It is an achievement to have got to this point and building this centre with the sort of money spent on this. Compared to Wetherspoon and what it spent on a pub, we are getting real value for money.”

Friends of the Beehive, who are still fundraising for the costs of fitting out the centre, raised £600 during Charter week.

Funding applications are being submitted and members of the public have also come forward to fund specific areas of the building.

The handover of the building is expected to be in late December.

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