£1million community centre boost

JUBILANT townspeople have been given the green light to build a £1 million community centre at Framlingham.After many years campaigning supporters were finally rewarded for their patience after Suffolk Coastal District councillors gave the scheme their unanimous backing yesterday.

JUBILANT townspeople have been given the green light to build a £1 million community centre at Framlingham.

After many years campaigning supporters were finally rewarded for their patience after Suffolk Coastal District councillors gave the scheme their unanimous backing yesterday.

Community centre trustees want to build the centre on the site of the old St Michael's Rooms near the ancient Grade I Listed St Michael's church, but the plan has attracted criticism.

The new building, which is split into sections is about two and a half times larger than the present structure, which will be demolished this year.


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Critics argued that the new structure would be too large, but planners felt the impact would be reduced because the building was broken up into segments and surrounded by mature trees.

Plans have been modified and scrutinised over the last few weeks and months during talks between applicants, planners and council architects in order to achieve a design which was considered acceptable in such a sensitive site within the town's conservation area.

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Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control sub-committee heard the plans had the backing of the Suffolk Preservation Society, and English Heritage was raising no objection.

Now trustees will be concentrating their efforts on raising the necessary funds to build the structure through various grant bodies and fundraising.

Trustee John Lockyer said after the decision: "The trustees are very pleased that the development sub-committee of Suffolk Coastal District Council has given planning consent for the new community centre for Framlingham.

"Particular congratulations are due to our architect, Mike Cummins of Framlingham, who has had a very difficult task.

"He now has to agreed details with officers of the council and establish an exact cost for the project.

"At long last we can now invite the people of Framlingham to come together and show their support by raising funds in every possible way.

"We will be looking for volunteers to take this next stage of the work forward and invite everyone to the next AGM on June 23 in St Michael's Rooms at 7.30pm to discuss how this can be done."

Ivan Jowers, chairman of the sub-committee said that every planning application was decided on its merits.

Tony Martin, a resident who spoke at the meeting to express his opposition to the plans and had called for a site visit said he was disappointed at the decision.

"I'm sorry that an amenity view in Framlingham will now be lost," he said.

Winter Rose, district councillor for Framlingham said hefelt it was "an absolutely essential facility for Framlingham" and "a bold move".

There were 32 letters of objection, five of support and 172 pro-forma letters of support for the application.

The building is set to include a large hall with stage and seating for 200 people, a secondary hall, two meetings rooms, volunteer centre and town council facilities, along with 30 parking spaces including two disabled.

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