Cash left over from failed project

A PUBLIC meeting has been called to decide what to do with £12,000 left over from a market town's “failed” community centre project.

David Green

A PUBLIC meeting has been called to decide what to do with £12,000 left over from a market town's “failed” community centre project.

The £1million Framlingham Community Centre project collapsed in August 2007 following a dispute between the trustees and the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich over land available for the new building and its car park.

All the money had been raised or pledged, including £300,000 from European funds, and the collapse was described by local people as a “tragedy” and a “disaster”.

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The trustees have spent the past 15 months attempting to return more than £100,000 to local donors and fund-raisers.

However, about £12,000 remains - partly as a result of people declining to take the money back.

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Now a public meeting has been organised for Friday night to discuss a suggestion that the £12,000 be handed to the local Mills Charity to be held for use in any future community centre project.

Vic Stanbrook, chairman of the trustees, said yesterday: “We have tried hard to give all the money back but some people have said they don't want it back or, in some cases, we can't trace the donors. It is very difficult for people who have done sponsored and other fundraising events.

“There is this residue and we believe the best way forward is to give it to the Mills Charity. We would ask for it to be ring-fenced for any future community centre project.”

The Mills Charity owns a number of local properties and uses its income to help the community in a variety of ways.

The Framlingham community centre project began as a millennium idea and captured the imagination of a large number of people in the town and neighbouring villages.

The idea of using the site of the church's St Michael's Rooms was originally put forward by a previous vicar, Rev Richard Willcock.

However, the relationship between the parochial church council and the community centre project deteriorated over the years and reached an impasse over the land issue.

Friday's public meeting is due to start at 7.30 pm in the Scout and Guide HQ, Badingham Road, Framlingham

Trust secretary, John Lockyer, said: “All residents over the age of 18 are welcome to attend as this unfortunate project draws to a close.”

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