June 19 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, February 14, 2013
PLANS are underway for a folk art centre for people with disabilities in an old railway building at Bury St Edmunds train station.
Terry Walden, chairman of the Milkmaid Folk Arts Centre, said the refurbishment of the Grade II-Listed building would cost about £400,000, adding the Railway Heritage Trust had already pledged about £160,000.
Mr Walden, who came up with the idea for the centre in about 2003, said “there’s nothing around like this”.
“It’s a day centre for people with disabilities who will be able to access music, dance, drama, art etc, mainly around folk music, but not exclusively. My idea of folk music is a broad church.”
The plans include a performance area for 120 people and studio rooms. The centre would also be open to the community at evenings and weekends.
Mr Walden, from Bury, has brought together his love of folk music and background in business and the voluntary sector in the scheme. His day job is with the Shaw Trust, which employment services for disabled and disadvantaged people.
He said he had received “so much support” for the centre from councillors as well as those who work with people with disabilities.
Planning permission needs to be sought and the Milkmaid Folk Arts Centre, which is a community interest company, is hoping to buy the lease for the building, which has not been in use for about five or six years.
“We know it, everybody knows what a beautiful it is. It’s a flagship building for Bury St Edmunds,” Mr Walden said.
A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia, which is understood to lease the site from Network Rail, said some preliminary discussions had taken place with the organisation.