Major blow to community centre hopes

By Sarah ChambersA PLAN for a new community centre for a town has suffered a major funding setback.Lottery funders have rejected an application for about a third of the cost of the £1million project proposed for the site of the crumbling St Michael's Rooms in Framlingham, near the town's historic St Michael's Church.

By Sarah Chambers

A PLAN for a new community centre for a town has suffered a major funding setback.

Lottery funders have rejected an application for about a third of the cost of the £1million project proposed for the site of the crumbling St Michael's Rooms in Framlingham, near the town's historic St Michael's Church.

Trustees have overcome many hurdles in their efforts to get the scheme through the planning process and come up with a proposal that satisfied English Heritage.


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They described the rejection of the lottery funding application as “disappointing news for Framlingham”.

Vic Stanbrook, chairman of the Community Centre Trust, said: “We have been informed that the Big Lottery is not able to offer support for the Framlingham Community Centre project at this stage as other funding is not sufficiently advanced to give a definite date for the start of the building.

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“They cannot tie up funds as the present capital grants programme is now drawing to a close.

“This is especially disappointing in view of the high level of local support received for the project, but we were always aware that competition was intense for these funds.

“The trustees are continuing their programme of applications to various bodies and local fundraising will continue. We need the ongoing support of everyone as there has to be a community centre in Framlingham.”

Residents have been trying for many years to get such a scheme off the ground.

Plans for previous potential sites fell through, but trustees believed that the centrally-located site of St Michael's Rooms was ideal for their plan for a multi-functional building that would include halls, a town council office and other facilities.

Paul Briscoe, one of the trustees, said they were committed to continuing to try to get the project off the ground and would look again at presenting an application in a revised form and at other funding sources.

He added other funders had promised to support the project and pointed out they had raised more than £30,000 of the £150,000 they hoped to collect from local fundraising.

“Nobody's mentioned throwing in the towel. We have put so much work into it and we have ironed out all the problems people have put in our way,” said Mr Briscoe.

Explaining its decision to reject the funding application, a spokeswoman for the Big Lottery said: “The organisation still had the bulk of the project left to raise, so there was quite a high level of uncertainty whether the project would be able to go ahead.

“It was therefore impossible for us to recommend approval for funding for a project that was in that position.”

But she added: “We would be very happy to work with them in the future on a new proposal.”

sarah.chambers@eadt.co.uk

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