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Framlingham: Community hall plans live on despite setback

13:02 09 April 2014

The Drill Hall in Framlingham was one of several sites proposed for a community hall.

The Drill Hall in Framlingham was one of several sites proposed for a community hall.

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Fresh calls for a community hall in east Suffolk have led to further assurances that the project will be pursued – despite facing major challenges.

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A recent residents’ survey in Framlingham demonstrated the community’s demands for the facility with more than three quarters of respondents highlighting it as a priority for the town.

Faced with these demands, Framlingham and District Development Trust said it will continue working to provide the new centre, even though its past four attempts failed at the final hurdle.

John Speight, who led the Trust’s latest project to convert the old police station in Badingham Road, said: “There’s still a will so the team will continue to look for a new site – even if there’s no obvious contender. Never say never.”

Mr Speight believes the group’s biggest obstacles to be funding and available land, particularly as the National Lottery had blocked its bid.

Alison Bowman, the Trust’s chairman, is also concerned that many of the viable sites are being taken up with housing developments.

Although she is hopeful the project will succeed eventually, she claims the regular setbacks have begun to make her “despair”.

“Framlingham desperately needs one and it’s ridiculous that it hasn’t got one,” she said.

“It’s very 
frustrating that it hasn’t happened and sometimes I get very angry about it.”

The Trust’s earlier plans to create a new facility at St Michael’s Church Rooms, the Drill Hall and at another site on Brook Lane, have all failed due to funding problems or land availability.

The latest setback came in December when its request to lease the old police station from the Mills Charity was refused.

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