Mildenhall: Community centre will be replaced

A NEW community centre will be built in Mildenhall after planning bosses agreed a deal that will see existing facilities demolished.

St John’s Community Centre, in St John’s Close, will be replaced by a smaller ‘sustainable’ centre with 20 homes also being built on the site.

The new centre will be owned and managed by Keystone Development Trust, which runs the existing building and will be funded

by income from two three-bedroom market rented properties which form part of the Orbit Housing development.

In addition, there will be 18 affordable homes including nine two bedroom, seven three bedroom and two four bedroom.

Community leaders said the plan, which was given planning permission by Forest Heath District Council’s development control committee last week, was “good news for the community.”

Speaking after the meeting, vice chairman of the committee, councillor Andy Drummond said: “The exisiting community service is past its best unfortunately so it is a good idea.

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“We went out on a site visit on Monday and the old facilities are now in a bit of state.”

Permission for the S106 agreement - a legally binding obligation attached to a piece of local land - means the centre can be rebuilt at no cost to the council.

According to documents put in front of the development control committee, the new centre will be smaller than the current facility but will still have a large single room capable of holding meetings and events for up to 50 people.

The papers state: “Community Services are satisfied that the size of the building reflects the needs of a modern community facility.”

There will also be a smaller room that can be used for group meetings.

The documents reveal that council officers also decided not to pursue �274,508 in community funding from the developer, which argued the scheme ‘would not be viable’ with such contributions.

The figures equate to �101,835 for open space and social Infrastructure as well as �154,232 for education, �12,181 for early years and childcare, �4,320 for libraries and �1,940 for waste.

A report to the committee said: “Each application must be considered on its own merits and as such, officers do not consider that this approach would set a precedent for future applications.”

A recommendation from Environmental Health said the new centre should operate between 8am and 10pm as it will be close to three of the proposed houses.

The site is owned by the district council and the land will be transferred to Orbit.

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