Bury St Edmunds: New £750k community facility gets estate’s backing

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Jon Vale West Suffolk reporter jon.vale@archant.co.uk
Monday, April 21, 2014
12:32 PM

A new £750,000 community centre in Bury St Edmunds has edged closer to becoming a reality after residents voiced their overwhelming support.

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The hub for the Horringer Court estate was backed by more than 90% of respondents to a recent survey put out by the local residents’ association, while a motion to continue exploring the plans was waved through at a public residents’ meeting on Thursday.

The plans are being spearheaded by the Horringer Court Residents’ Association, Horringer Court Middle School, Horringer Court Community Church and local councillors, with the school willing to host the centre on its land and use it for activities such as drama and dance. The church has already raised around £80,000 towards the project.

The estate’s county and borough councillor, Sarah Stamp, told Thursday’s meeting: “We’re not right at the beginning, but there’s a long way to go and it will involve significant commitment and funding.

“But this estate is in need of a community centre, we’re the only estate in Bury that hasn’t got one. Once you’ve got a community facility, you can start talking about Guides and Weight Watchers, and anyone else that might use it.”

A working group has been meeting roughly every eight weeks to discuss the project, with a memorandum of understanding in the process of being drafted. Before any applications for funding can be made the group will have to set-up a company structured as a charity. Trustees are likely to come from the groups involved as well as Suffolk County Council, on whose land it is due to be built and have been supporting the project with officer time.

Vice-chairman of the Horringer Court Residents’ Association, Philip Jude, said: “The legal set-up is you can’t go and ask somebody to give you money unless you’ve got someone to give it to. We’re really looking at something that would be a village hall.”

The estate has a community room at the Glastonbury Court care home, which will be lost with the new 80-bed home planned for the site.

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