Sympathetic architecture for a community centre in Marshland St James, Wisbech


Marshland St James, Wisbech


An attractive design sympathetic to the rural community is the design for this community and sports hall, promoting wellbeing in the village of Marshland St James.


 A new hall for the Marshland St James community to replace a 100-year-old village hall and 1945 sports pavilion whilst also tying together other existing facilities. With an attractive design sympathetic to the rural location and neighbouring properties, the building offers a complete transformation to a previously underutilised space and halls in real need of updating.


Our team of experts created this modern centre with the following:   

  • New orientation of the building

  • sympathetic architecture with the rural nature of the area and to reflect details of nearby buildings, natural resources wherever possible and long-lasting, low maintenance red brickwork and timber cladding

  • a profiled metal roof reflects the agricultural nature of the area. 

  • casement windows complement overhanging eaves and barge boards

  • enhanced community wellbeing by being accessible, inclusive, locally distinctive, safe and promoting healthy lifestyles 

  • Modern kitchen design for community functions

Key Drivers

  • Tackling some of the underlying deprivation issues giving the village a self-sustaining set of facilities that will accommodate both the village hall and sports pavilion in one.  

  • Providing a multi-functional building that will integrate facilities and services desired by the village community.  

  • Integrate with the existing uses already established adjacent the proposed site.  These include the bowling green, football pitches, playground, tennis court and skate park. 

Architecture for the community of Marshland St James

As this is a community project, and in the interest of transparency, we would like to note that we, Swann Edwards, were paid for our services. However, we undertook some initial works free of charge before the first applications to help the project with its initial fundraising efforts. The remainder of our works were at a reduced rate.

From the perspective of the Swann Edwards team, we’re hugely proud to have been involved in the planning and design for the Marshland and District Community & Sports Centre. The designs proved instrumental to help the project secure funding and planning permissions, but they weren’t without their challenges.

We carefully considered the placement of the hall, to ensure the to-be replaced facilities (the old hall and sports pavilion) were still accessible and in working order during the build. On top of that, the orientation of the new building was designed to have minimal impact on neighbouring properties, in terms of overlooking and massing.

On a more aesthetic level, the building was designed to be sympathetic with the rural nature of the area and to reflect details of nearby buildings – for example, red brickwork, timber cladding and casement windows with overhanging eaves and bargeboards. A profiled metal roof was also included to reflect the agricultural nature of the area.

Landscaping was equally carefully considered, and the building’s entry and exit were designed so they do not appear on the front elevation – minimising any obstruction to the appearance of the hall.

The orientation of the new building has been designed to have minimal impact on the neighbouring properties in terms of overlooking and massing.  The hall is positioned in the centre of the building to allow the spaces to be used as flexibly as possible but to also contain any noise within the structure.   

Finally, the hall has truly achieved its aim of being an inclusive environment that promotes the wellbeing of all those in the Marshland St James community.

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