On April 6th 2002 Robert Cowley and Jackie Upton reported to the well-attended Annual Town Meeting. Their presentation included the first sight of an artist’s impression of the building that would become familiar throughout the town.
The presentation finished with a call to everyone to get to know about The Exchange, to start thinking about how to raise funds and have fun at the same time. And most important of all appreciate what an important project this is for Sturminster Newton, for our children and grandchildren.
Encourage everyone to join in – this is YOUR community.
Be proud of the amazing community that we live in. Very few places could have achieved what we have since the closure of the cattle market!
The community were encouraged to come and talk to the Community Building Project Team at the meetings and events taking place over the following weeks to find out how to help this wonderful new opportunity.
The project cost around £2.5 million; there is already committed funding of £1,560,000 and we are on track for securing a further £740,000. Obviously there is still a gap to be filled, but we are working on it and hope to close it very quickly with the help of the community.
A magnificent grant of £500,000 has been awarded to The Exchange by the South West Regional Development Agency.
With this funding of 2.5 million is now secured for The Exchange.
The boards of The Sturminster Newton Community Building Trust and SturQuest Enterprises have formally resolved to proceed with all possible despatch to commence the construction of The Exchange.
A. Hammond and Sons, one of our local builders, have been named as the builders of The Exchange.
Work officially started on the Community element of the Market Site development, thaks to Jon Dunne of Charles Higgins Holdings. The first sod was turned by with a silver spade by Charles Frazer on behalf of Sturminster Newton Town Council.
On 6th February 2007 the ‘topping out’ ceremony saw the highest part of The Exchange fixed in place – the two obelisks that complete the huge slate roof.
The curved slate roof is a remarkable piece of workmanship with every slate individually cut to size. This is another example of the dedication to quality which is making The Exchange such an outstanding building.
The Exchange opens its doors for the whole weekend to the people of Sturminster Newton and the surrounding villages, to come in and see for themselves what is on offer in the future. This significant weekend is for the people who will be using The Exchange.
There will be a special event during the open weekend – a unique link between the past and the future. On 30th June 2007, exactly 10 years later, the market bell will ring again to say that, after the loss of the market and the Creamery, Sturminster Newton has taken the lead in shaping its future.
July 16th saw the handover of The Exchange to the community and the beginning of the next chapter of the “Story of Stur”. Total cost £2.68 million.
The doors have been open since August, but on 14th December The Exchange was officially opened by Julian Fellowes.
Julian Fellowes, actor, author, Oscar winning script writer, and successful film director, impressed all those present with his enthusiasm for the building and his understanding of the importance of it for the town. His excellent speech highlighted the potential it offers for people to discover new pleasures and interests, and the way in which The Exchange is filling the gap left by the livestock market as a centre for the town and the area.