It is 2040 and ‘Sir Ed Sheeran is Mayor of Framlingham City’ - but will community hall problems be resolved?

Jonathan Sullivan, right, pictured with Framlingham Residents Association chairman Christopher Sharp

Jonathan Sullivan, right, pictured with Framlingham Residents Association chairman Christopher Sharpe. Picture: ANDREW HIRST - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk town has “nightmarish” hurdles to overcome to achieve its long sought-after community hall, a member of the group investigating options has warned.

A computer image of the recent community centre proposals for Brook Lane. Picture: HOLLINS

A computer image of the recent community centre proposals for Brook Lane. Picture: HOLLINS - Credit: Archant

Jonathan Sullivan, a member of Framlingham Town Council’s working group, said there were a “huge number” of obstacles to delivering the hall.

Despite public support and many attempts to find a suitable location, none has succeeded.

The latest £1.2m proposals for a site between Brook Lane and Vyces Road had progressed to the design stage before heated public opposition led to calls for a rethink earlier this year.

Working group members have been looking at ways to overcome the Brook Lane site concerns - such as noise and traffic - and considering other options.


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Mr Sullivan told Framlingham Residents’ Association (FRAm) that options had been narrowed down to two - Brook Lane and Framlingham Sports Centre.

However, he added the sports centre may have “fallen at the first hurdle” as “compatibility” issues had been raised about the site. The croquet lawn was still being investigated, he added.

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Speaking in a personal capacity, Mr Sullivan said he felt Brook Lane, while “not perfect”, seemed better than the alternatives, despite the “hot public debate”.

However, he went on to highlight challenges facing all proposals. “There are a huge number of hurdles that we have to jump through,” he added. “These hurdles are a nightmare.”

He said it was difficult to balance between the “greater good” and infringing on human rights, and questioned whether it was possible to tell between “the will of the people” and the views of a “vociferous minority”.

The sites themselves could pose challenges, he added, as land was “hard to come by, expensive and often came with strings attached”.

He said even the best community halls were “marginal performers” - and that without developer funding contributions, Framlingham’s proposals would struggle to succeed without “financial drag”. He added Framlingham was “too rich” for National Lottery funding.

Mr Sullivan warned problems could persist, joking that by 2040 Framlingham Mere would be concreted over for a car park and “Sir Ed Sheeran” would be “Mayor of Framlingham City”.

Community hall proposals are to be discussed tonight at the town’s annual parish meeting.

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