Needham Market: Internet cafe’s future in doubt as claims made that Suffolk County Council will not invest in their building

The future of Needham Market's Internet Cafe is in doubt

The future of Needham Market's Internet Cafe is in doubt - Credit: PA

The future of a town’s community internet cafe is “perilous” after the organisation was told not to expect to rent its building for the long-term.

Suffolk County Council has informed Needham Market Internet Cafe, a not-for-profit group, that it can no longer guarantee it remaining in the building, it is claimed.

Instead a three-month rolling contract is set to be offered – but no investment will be made if the 1960s structure needs internal or external work, according to the cafe’s founder. There are also concerns over the future of the town’s library – with the building also owned by the council.

Tom Barker, who formed the cafe 10 years ago, said the council was looking into providing funding for a facility to relocate.

He said: “In terms of the cafe the lease is up to June 2015 and the county council has informed us that it will not be renewing that lease. Subsequently they said they would allow it to be carried on a three-month basis but would not invest any money into the building.”


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In town council minutes it is reported that a letter from Mr Barker describes the cafe’s position as “perilous”. No-one from the county council was available to comment.

Steve Phillips, town mayor, said: “It would be a shame to lose them but if they move and it’s a good building then it’s not a shame as long as they keep the library and the internet café. Both do brilliant work in the town; the internet café work a lot with youngsters in the town.”

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A spokesman for Suffolk Libraries said the county council had been investing in the library. He added: “There are no firm plans to move Needham Market Library. The county council has many ongoing discussions about its premises and possible co-location of services, some of which have involved Needham Market Library but there are no plans for the building in the near future.”

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