Anger at community centre closure

PLANS to close a well-loved and historic community centre because it is too expensive to maintain have been criticised as “ridiculous”.Wells Hall Old School Community Centre in Great Cornard, near Sudbury, is home to Stepping Stones playgroup, a youth group, clubs for the elderly, Brownies and Girl Guides but Suffolk County Council has asked them to find new facilities.

PLANS to close a well-loved and historic community centre because it is too expensive to maintain have been criticised as “ridiculous”.

Wells Hall Old School Community Centre in Great Cornard, near Sudbury, is home to Stepping Stones playgroup, a youth group, clubs for the elderly, Brownies and Girl Guides but Suffolk County Council has asked them to find new facilities.

The fate of the former school is at an early stage and will have to be put before the council's Cabinet next year before a final decision is made.

But Eileen Lough, Stepping Stones playgroup leader and senior youth group worker, said: “We are worried by the move. I've been working here for 20 years with the playgroup and the youth club and it seems a shame if they sell it off.


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“This move could damage the community - I've seen children who have come here and now their children are coming here - it is part of the living community.

“And with all these new homes going up around Great Cornard the existing facilities won't be able to cope without the old school.”

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Peter Beer, parish council chairman and county council member, said he had been promised that all the groups would be found a new home before any closure.

Great Cornard resident Alfred Eady , a former parish councillor, said he was dismayed because the building was so well used.

He said he feared vital community groups could struggle to find new facilities close-by: “It is ridiculous to consider closing it. It is old but it is built solidly and there is nothing wrong with it.”

A spokeswoman for the county council assured residents no services would be disrupted.

“We are not planning to close Wells Hall Old School this year,” she said.

“We are currently looking at proposals for the community to use new facilities at Great Cornard Upper School.

“We are doing this because the old school building is difficult to maintain. We won't make a decision this year and any decision will go before Cabinet.”

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