Five options to be investigated in Framlingham for new community centre

The potential community centre site between Brook Lane and Vyces Road was met with opposition. Pictu

The potential community centre site between Brook Lane and Vyces Road was met with opposition. Picture: ANDREW HIRST - Credit: Archant

Fresh attempts to create a Suffolk town’s long-awaited new community centre are exploring five separate options, project leaders have said.

Framlingham Town Council’s latest meeting on Thursday night heard that its infrastructure plan committee had set up working groups to investigate the merits of potential locations for the centre.

The council had been pursuing proposals to build a £1.6million centre at a site owned by the Mills Charity between Brook Lane and Vyces Road, near to where 14 almshouses are being built.

The site would have been available to lease from the charity at a “peppercorn rent” while Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding, received from housing developments in the town, was hoped to help pay for the project.

However people living near to the proposed site had raised strong objections.

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At a public meeting in October, dozens of objectors criticised the location, saying it would disturb neighbouring residents and worsen traffic problems, which some claimed were already a danger.

Faced with such opposition, the council agreed last month it would look again at the proposals, widening the remit of potential sites.

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Speaking on Thursday night, council chairman Gary Kitching gave councillors an update on the project. He said five groups had been set up to investigate different options. One is looking again at the site between Brook Lane and Vyces Road, another is investigating Badingham Road, near to the police house and scout hut and a third is looking at Thomas Mills High School and the FAYAP Centre.

The fourth group is looking at whether existing sites, such as the library, could be developed as a community centre, while the final group is looking at potential new sites, not considered before.

Mr Kitching told the meeting that a site would need to be chosen by April next year in order to meet application deadlines for CIL funding.

“That will give us time to put together a case,” he added.

Mr Kitching said the plan was to put together a CIL bid that would incorporate other infrastructure ambitions, such as car parking proposals, which the council has also been working on.

“We could create a vision for the town’s infrastructure,” he added, referencing comments made by district councillor Christopher Hudson at October’s public meeting.

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