Beck Row: Management disagreement puts new village hall and community facility in doubt

Beck Row Primary School

Beck Row Primary School - Credit: Archant

A new community hub remains in doubt as a parish council stands by its stance that it cannot afford to run it.

Beck Row Parish Council is to explore spending money on smaller community projects rather than an all-purpose hall after the village was handed grants as part of the S106 funding from Persimmon Homes’ Sycamore Park development.

The S106 agreement has set aside £100,000 for a new community facility or public open space, £34,000 for a community facility and £61,000 for a play area – grants that will be distributed and managed by Forest Heath.

However, the parish council claims to have reached a stalemate with the district and county councils over the potential management of a new facility, saying it would be too expensive for the parish council to run.

Former council chairman Kay Sallis said: “We are not going to take over that site until either Forest Heath or Suffolk County Council agree to be responsible for the management.

“As a parish council with a very small precept, a management plan will cost us more than we could ever afford.”

Mrs Sallis said the issue of a community facility for Beck Row had caused problems between the parish and its bigger councils for decades, with issues over land and the village’s current Beck Row Community Centre at the village primary school, which the county council once tried to seize to convert into new classrooms.

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A spokeswoman from Forest Heath District Council said: “We have not been made aware by Beck Row Parish Council of any issues with this grant.

“Usually, it is the case that S106 money is paid by a developer for a specific purpose. If it can’t be used for that purpose, any alternative use would have to be agreed between the parties who agreed the S106 obligation.”

At this month’s parish council meeting, parish councillor Philip Haylock made a number of suggestions for projects where the funding could be used, such as building a new pavilion for Beck Row Football Club or a facility that could be used to attract plane spotters.