I believe the community appropriating the old mechanics shed and surrounding land adjacent to the shop (“Reclaim the Shed”) is an exciting and realistic goer. It is a much better option then swapping over sheds with the CFA to develop their shed.
Some people think the old Mechanic’s shed’s proximity to the main st and the shop is a liability, but I think the location on the mains st , adjacent to .. but set back is an absolute asset and is part and parcel of it’s main strength… the perfect location next to the single main point of casual social interaction in the town. The shed development would piggy-back off this fact as Teesdale people already go there to get their mail if nothing else. The most successful enterprises cater for their market the most effectively.. provide ease of use.
Furthermore, the shed block is big enough with a lot of depth to get a lot of stuff off the main rd. and the building and block is well set, nestled down. I like the kind of sheltered aspect of the mechanic’s shed block. Even the main building is set back nicely in relation to the shop and the main rd but there is significant space right down the shop side and at the back. I don’t see the traffic as a problem. You wouldn’t go there to read a book.. but for casual social interaction or a brief sit down concurrent with a trip to the shop the occasional truck rumble is no big deal.
Reclaiming the old mechanic’s shed has massive place-making potential and would really work in Teesdale, in particular, because it counteracts the current dispersal of social or community activities where we don’t have high st shops, petrol, a pub or even a cafe. The community using this amazing opportunity to acquire the old shed will make a profound statement about the values of the people of Teesdale.
I don’t see it as a community hall type place where you have organised mtgs, events which need kitchen and toilets and dedicated car parking .. we’ve already got a town hall, a sports pavilion, turtle bend with bbq, etc for that. It’s main thing would be outside, hangout for a while. with smartphone interactive noticeboard, pegolas and shade trees, seating options, and with other people coming and going.. Inside : mainly men’s shed, but partitioned for gallery / exhibition and other alternative uses . I see it working as a productive alive place… so rd noise / traffic would not be a blight but part of the scene.
I think the best reason to do all of this is to allow opportunities for people to have richer social interactions, but particularly the 12 to 20 age bracket, free wi-fi, a fair chunk of ownership of the area, coupled with the lure of the shop and a “cool” type hangout area is going to work whereas anything next to the kinda may not.. and will not do much to “placemake” our main st.
We have to make attractive options for teenagers, to let them have spaces they go to or can use, to have some ownership of in a non intimidating, non-prescibed type way, to allow them to naturally cluster and feel they are part of and valued by the community
I like the Reclaim the Shed proposal because it has a bit of “grunge factor”.. it’s different and will appeal to the younger market and be unique, authentic and alive: a massive and exciting asset for Teesdale.
We have provided the links to Geoff’s comments here and here intertwined with a terrific contribution on peace polls, and some quite terrible comments on engineers by myself.
We’ve also linked it to Stewart Seaton’s contribution here