Odiham Cross Barn – Securing the Economic Viability of a Community Asset

The Odiham Cross Barn is Hampshire’s oldest surviving brick built barn, it is a Grade 2 Listed Building dating back to 1532. The Barn was restored to a basic level in the early 1990s as part of a neighbouring residential development of the original Palace Gate Farm. A short while later the building was transferred by the local council to the community to be run as a community building operated by a charity limited by guarantee, the trustees of the charity also being directors of the company.

For the building to survive and prosper as the cultural and social hub of the community it needed much investment in it’s facilities.  The economic viability of the main hall was restricted because it contained essential equipment such as stacks of chairs, tables and pianos, all items which hindered full use being made of this historic space and which detracted from the visual attractiveness of such a historic building, the equipment needed to be stored elsewhere.

After ten years of negotiation planning permission was granted for a storage extension along an external boundary of the Barn.  The Trustees over the years accumulated funds for this project but still had a short fall if the extension was to be built to the high standard expected for this unique building.

A grant from LEADER made up the short fall and enabled the extension to be built. At last the Barn could fulfil it’s true potential as the thieving hub of the community. Local business grew and developed as new classes and events were developed in the Barn, local producers are able to rent the Barn to publicise their produce and the Barn is a focal point for all family celebrations supported by a dedicated group of local businesses including florists, caterers, wine merchants and taxis.

LEADER has secured the economic life of a building unique in Hampshire and enabled success business start ups in a rural community of some 4000 people.