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Former Library in Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe to become a community space and cultural centre

| April 23, 2023

The former library in Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe. (Archive picture)

The historic former Wycombe Library on Queen Victoria Road set to be transformed into a vibrant space for local residents to ‘work near home’, whilst also doubling as an innovative community hub for cultural and creative events.

Until recently the old library was being used as council offices by Buckinghamshire Council, who own the building. By rationalising its use of office space, the council is now able to open the space up for a new innovative use which will not only help regenerate the town but also generate income for the council.

Patch, a company on a mission to reignite local high streets by encouraging people to work nearer home and connect with their local community, will be transforming this local landmark.

The destination in the centre of High Wycombe will be transformed into a new neighbourhood workspace, creating opportunities for the community to work, meet, and connect. The space will feature a design-led workspace, including offices and meeting rooms, as well as a locally-run café, events spaces and pop-up retail space.

Accessibility is core to the Patch project; everyone from freelancers and working parents, to SMEs and larger businesses will have access to the on-site workspace, with membership fees starting from £24 a month. Patch plans to give scholarships to local students to give them access to the workspace and foster partnerships with local universities and colleges.

There will also be a busy calendar of community events, including educational talks, workshops, pop-up markets and networking events, which will be open to the public. A ‘Patch Market’ will be housed on-site, offering local businesses a dynamic space to sell and promote their services and goods.

The aim is to bring more balance to people’s lives, freeing them from the commute, so they can spend more time with friends and family as well as make High Wycombe an even better place for local startups to launch and grow their businesses.

Patch is working with interior design and architecture studio, Atelier Como, on transforming the building. Their approach will celebrate the building’s civic history as a library and also reference High Wycombe’s culture of creative production.

In particular, the space will reflect the town’s history of furniture making with a design approach that combines contemporary design-led furniture with vintage pieces from High Wycombe designers like Ercol and Robin Day.

Freddie Fforde, Founder and CEO of Patch, said: ‘High Wycombe has a compelling local history and beautiful spaces; it’s been our intention to come here for a long time and we’re now very excited to open Patch workspace in such an iconic local building.

We are thrilled to be providing a dynamic venue right in the heart of the community where everyone can work, collaborate, connect, and participate. This will offer the best of both worlds – allowing people to balance their work and home life by reducing time spent commuting to the office, whilst also offering new and enhanced opportunities for people to connect to their community and discover brilliant local businesses and events.

We are particularly pleased to work with Buckinghamshire Council as our landlords, who share our vision for bringing this important local building back into more accessible use.’

Rachael Matthews, Deputy Cabinet Member for Town Centre Regeneration at Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘We’re pleased that we are re-purposing a valued council-owned building for a community-focussed use that keeps town centre spaces active. It means there will be flexible office space for small businesses and freelancers in the heart of the town. This will hopefully attract people into the centre of town and will have wider benefits for other businesses in High Wycombe.

It also generates an income for the council in what was previously under-used space. The council is still maintaining a base for staff and customers in High Wycombe Town Centre under its wider Estates Strategy.

*Source of information : Press release supplied on behalf of Patch by Crest PR.

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