Framlingham to consider new sites for community centre amid opposition to Brooks Lane proposal

The initial location was a site between Brook Lane and Vyces Road, alongside 14 almshouses, which ar

The initial location was a site between Brook Lane and Vyces Road, alongside 14 almshouses, which are already underway. Picture: ANDREW HIRST - Credit: Archant

Opposition to a Suffolk town’s latest community centre proposals has prompted project leaders to widen the remit for potential sites.

Framlingham Town Council agreed on Thursday night to look again at locations for the facility after the most recent suggestion for a site between Brook Lane and Vyces Road was met with criticism.

Last month, more than 150 people packed Framlingham College’s Headmaster Porter Theatre to have their say on the £1.6 project, which is the town’s sixth attempt to create a community centre in around 20 years.

Many speakers said that while they wanted to see a community centre built, the proposed location would cause too much disturbance and worsen existing traffic problems

Residents attending Thursday’s council meeting reiterated many of these concerns, urging councillors to reconsider the proposals which were said to have caused “grave concerns”, and “disunity”.

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Others, however, gave their support to the current proposals.

Christopher Sharpe, chairman of Framlingham Residents’ Association said in a speech read out by a colleague that now was the best opportunity to get the community hall the town wanted and that “putting it in somebody else’s back yard” could jeopardise the project.

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Councillor John Jones, chairman of the council’s infrastructure planning committee, which has been working on the community centre proposals, said it had prompted a “considerable” amount of correspondence.

He proposed a number of options, including continuing with the current location, amending the designs to address the residents’ concerns or widening the remit to consider alternative sites.

Councillors voted in favour of looking at the other sites, including the old police station, the scout hut and the sports centre.

The community centre working group was given six months to investigate the “availability, sustainability and feasibility” of all the locations and report back.

Mr Jones also explained that the community centre had been unsuccessful in its bid for Community Infrastructure Levy funding, which meant it would have to reapply next year.

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