Former MoD hall to make way for homes

A LONG-running saga surrounding the future of a former Ministry of Defence building has finally come to an end – after it was agreed to knock it down for housing.

Some residents had hoped the Drill Hall in New Road, Framlingham, could be kept for community use, with a particular focus on the youth of the town.

It led to a stalemate, and a number of planning applications for housing have been turned down over the last few years.

However, members of Suffolk Costal District Council’s north area development control sub-committee yesterday gave Cripps Developments Ltd the thumbs-up to go ahead with their proposals – as long as they honour an agreement to pay �75,000 towards community projects.

Eileen Coe, clerk to Framlingham Town Council, said they were pleased a solution had now been found.

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“I think we have reached a conclusion that is satisfactory to both sides,” she said after the sub- committee meeting.

She said the town council had set up a new committee with two co-opted members which had recommended the money be put towards the construction of a two-storey building on the Pageant Field which could be used by the Framlingham Area Youth Action Partnership.

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The rest of the funding for the project could be made up through other grants and the building would also have enough room to store equipment used by the town council for events.

The proposal will go before a meeting of the full town council on October 7.

Cripps Developments Ltd will demolish the Drill Hall and build five homes, with a parking area off a driveway on to New Road.

Speaking at the meeting, Winter Rose, district councillor for Framlingham, said he always believed the Drill Hall should be kept for community use but in light of the financial agreement – and the town council’s support – he would back the proposals.

But he added: “Essentially, the developers have got their way.

“I am quite disappointed in this fact, however a solution of sorts has been found.

“It is not a solution I would have opted for originally but it is a solution and certainly the town council have ideas on how they can put the funds towards a new community facility or help develop other community facilities, and I support them in that.”

Cripps Developments Ltd bought the Drill Hall from the MoD in 2006 after submitting the highest offer in a “sealed bid” sale.

The Framlingham and District Development Trust failed in its own attempt to purchase the property.

Last night Daniel Cripps, of Cripps Developments Ltd, said they were pleased to now be able to go ahead with their plans while coming up with a solution that was satisfactory to both parties.

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