GALLERY: Build underway for 'state-of-the-art' community centre

 the new community centre being delivered as part of a development of 79 new homes on the Howard Estate in Bury St Edmunds.

Members of the Newbury Community Association with Cllr Paul Hopfensperger and Cllr Patrick Chung, Liz Wigley representing the Government's One Public Estate programme, representatives of Suffolk County Council, Keepmoat Homes and Ashe Group - Credit: Ashe Group

A brand new "state-of-the-art" community centre "designed by the people for the people" is taking shape.

The replacement Newbury Community Centre is being built on the town's Howard estate on the site of the old primary school, which was owned by Suffolk County Council, and is expected to be open towards the end of the year.

The new community centre is being delivered as part of a development of 79 new homes on the Howard estate in Bury St Edmunds.

The new community centre is being delivered as part of a development of 79 new homes on the Howard estate in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Ashe Group

District councillor Paul Hopfensperger, who represents the St Olaves ward, has been heavily involved with the project from the beginning.

He said: "This is bold, ambitious and exciting. I am sure lots of people are looking forward to the new community centre.

"This has been years in the making and I am delighted for everyone that has been a part of this journey, to see their new community centre being built.”

Councillor Paul Hopfensperger, who has been involved from the beginning, said he felt "proud" of the project.

Councillor Paul Hopfensperger, who has been involved from the beginning, said he felt "proud" of the project. - Credit: Paul Hopfensperger

Sharing pictures of the build on Facebook, he said there would be "two large halls, a brand new children’s centre, multi-use medical room, huge members club house, bar, kitchen, a central hub for coffee etc, and provision in Phase II for F.A. approved football changing rooms".


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"All as asked for during our 3 heavily attended consultations. Nothing has been left out!", he said in his Facebook post.

Back in 2014, residents were invited to take part in the first of three engagement events about the activities they were like to see taking place in their new community centre.

The replacement Newbury Community Centre will include a new Carousel Children's Centre

The replacement Newbury Community Centre will include a new Carousel Children's Centre - Credit: Ashe Group

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Suffolk County Council also identified the opportunity to integrate the Carousel Children’s Centre into the new facility.

That then shaped the designs for the new building, which is being paid for and delivered as part of a new Keepmoat Housing development of 79 new homes.

Councillor Hopfensperger said "the foyer alone is bigger than the old centre!".

Councillor Hopfensperger said "the foyer alone is bigger than the old centre!". - Credit: Ashe Group

The scheme has also been made possible through the availability of other developer contributions and a £670,000 grant from the Government’s Land Release Fund.

The project is being led by the Newbury Community Association (NCA) and is supported by West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council councillors and Havebury Housing Partnership.

Barbara Bannister, chairperson of the NCA, said: “It is really exciting. There has been so much progress made on the new building and we are looking forward to moving in there towards the end of the year and welcoming the local community to their new centre.”

Members of the Community Association and councillors were among those who visited the site

Members of the Newbury Community Association and councillors were among those who visited the site to see the progress that has been made. - Credit: Paul Hopfensperger

Once completed, West Suffolk Council will transfer ownership of the building to the NCA and the old community centre, built more than half a century ago, will then be demolished as part of the housing development that has helped pay for it.

A show-home is now open on the site for potential purchasers to view.

Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, said the project "really is a testament to what collaborative working between councils and communities can achieve".

The redevelopment is being led by Keepmoat Homes and includes affordable housing.  

Another picture of the inside of the new centre, which is being built by Ashe Construction on behalf of Keepmoat

Another picture of the inside of the new centre, which is being built by Ashe Construction on behalf of Keepmoat - Credit: Paul Hopfensperger

Ashe Construction is building the new community centre on behalf of Keepmoat, working closely with the stakeholders.

Mick O’Farrell, Keepmoat Homes regional managing director, said: “We are delighted to have started work on this new development in partnership with West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council to deliver 79 much-needed, high quality, affordable new homes and a new community centre.

"The development, with the community centre at its heart, will create a thriving new neighbourhood for the residents of Bury St Edmunds.”

Andrew Morris, business development director for Ashe Group, said by using sustainably sourced timber and offsite methods of construction for the centre "we have ensured the most sustainable of buildings that fits with the councils’ own environmental philosophy".

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