Chief executive of MENTA, Alex Till, to drive Newbury Community Centre project in Bury St Edmunds

Alex Till ( third from right at the front), chief executive of MENTA, has been appointed by the Newb

Alex Till ( third from right at the front), chief executive of MENTA, has been appointed by the Newbury Community Association as chairman of the Newbury Community Centre Project Board. - Credit: Contributed

A business leader has been appointed to bring his skills to a project for a brand new community centre on Bury St Edmunds’ Howard estate.

Alex Till, chief executive of Suffolk enterprise agency MENTA, is now chairman of the Newbury Community Centre Project Board which is working to deliver a replacement facility for the area.

The project also involves residents, St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Havebury Housing Partnership.

Mr Till, who has been chief executive at MENTA for the last three years, said: “I am thrilled to be involved with the Newbury Community Centre project. Ultimately, the borough council is looking to deliver a new, fit-for-purpose centre, which will be run by the residents themselves.

“While much of the ground work has already begun there is still a long way to go towards delivering a new community centre for the people on the estate. I am looking forward to bringing some of my skills from the business world to helping the community achieve its vision.”

The announcement coincides with news of a feasibility study being carried out by Rees Pryer Architects in Bury into the ideas raised by residents at a consultation evening held at the current centre in October.

The study will also look at suggestions raised after the project board visited Honington and Sapiston Village Hall and the Meadows Community Centre and Brown’s Field Youth and Community Centre, both in Cambridge, to see how facilities such as community cafes and other amenities can be of real benefit to the area.

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Sara Mildmay-White, St Edmundsbury cabinet member for health and communities, said: “There is a real desire for the residents to be empowered to run the centre for themselves so that they can meet the needs of their local community. We have had some brilliant ideas come forward from the residents. These are now being looked at in closer detail as part of the feasibility study.

“Alex, meanwhile, brings a strong set of business knowledge and negotiation skills to the table, and will help ensure we squeeze every penny in terms of what we can deliver for the benefit of the people living on the Howard Estate.”

Councillor Paul Hopfensperger, who represents the St Olaves Ward and is a member of the project board, said the new centre would be an “entirely new and different facility than anything else you will find in Bury”.