Supporters delight as new youth and arts centre is approved for Woodbridge
- Credit: KATY SANDALLS
Plans for a £3million youth and arts centre in Woodbridge have been unanimously approved by Suffolk Coastal District Council.
The Jetty Lane Youth and Arts Centre was agreed by members of the planning committee to the delight of supporters of the project.
It will see the creation of a large building incorporating two halls, offices and meeting rooms as well as accommodation for art studios.
Jetty Lane Community Interest Company hopes the centre will become a space for a number of the town’s community groups, including the 1st Woodbridge Scout as well as youth charity Just 42.
Suffolk County Council awarded the community interest company behind the plans a 125 year lease on the land in December 2017 along with offering a peppercorn rent.
Since then the group has been fundraising and drawing up plans to make the project a reality.
The plans were sent through the committee referral process after a number of objections.
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Some of the objections were raised at the meeting and included concerns about the size of the building and the project’s viability.
One local resident who spoke at the meeting told the committee that while he and some of his neighbours did not object to the idea of a new youth centre that he was concerned about its size and describing the project as “massive”.
Other concerns were raised about the project’s viability.
Woodbridge district councillor Geoff Holdcroft described the plans as having “somewhat divided the community”.
Despite concerns, many of the councillors spoke in favour of the project including Felixstowe councillor Andy Smith.
Mr Smith said: “It’s exciting. What town in the UK would not give their right arm for this.”
Wenhaston and Westleton councillor Michael Gower added: “It’s needed in Woodbridge and the surrounding areas. I think this is something that is very positive.”
Jetty Lane director Amy Mallett, who spoke to councillors at the meeting, said: “The whole team is completely over the moon.
“We are overwhelmed at the positivity shown by the committee in this unanimous decision.
“This really is about the community of Woodbridge and building a legacy for its children and grandchildren.”