We were selected for this limited competition in 2009. The project is an ambitious proposal to transform a rather rundown but nonetheless busy community facility in the “Witham” in the centre of the beautiful small Co Durham town. The brief asked for a multipurpose performance space, cinema, dance studio, restaurant and, unusually, food market hall booths. The site consists of a listed building on the main market place of the town, the Witham, and a hall to the rear as well as some adjacent waste ground. Our proposal kept both the Witham and the hall and had as its core idea the proposition that a lively social space should be at the heart of the building from which everything can be seen. A double height foyer/bar-cum-food hall was therefore placed between the two existing buildings. Immediately adjacent are the multi-purpose performance space in the old hall, the cinema in a half basement, meeting rooms at first floor and a dance studio on the roof. The foyer is accessed from the main square, from the pend to the side and through the adjacent proposed walled garden, where is found the centre’s restaurant.