£50,000 grant boosts town creative hub plans

The old exchange in Saxmundham Picture: THE ART STATION

The old exchange in Saxmundham Picture: THE ART STATION - Credit: Archant

Plans to create a new creative hub in a Suffolk town have been boosted by a fund of £50,000.

The new hub will also offer exhibition space Picture: THE ART STATION

The new hub will also offer exhibition space Picture: THE ART STATION - Credit: Archant

The money will go towards the creation of the Art Station in Saxmundham.

The project will see the creation of studio space, as well as event and exhibition space and possibly a training kitchen in the future.

Plans to create such a space have been in the pipeline for a number of years but suffered a major set back when Saxmundham Train Station, in which the project was originally supposed to be housed, suffered significant fire damage two years ago.

Following the blaze, which destroyed much of the top floor of the building, the project's contract came to an end with Greater Anglia.

The first floor of the exchange will become home to the Art Station Picture: PALMIER PRODUCTIONS

The first floor of the exchange will become home to the Art Station Picture: PALMIER PRODUCTIONS - Credit: Archant


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Since then those behind the Art Station have been looking for a new location to host the desired creative space.

Now they are hoping to move into the first floor of the former telephone exchange building in the town, which they secured at the end of January.

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"We have been in negotiations for 18 months," said Lynne Dobney, trustee and director of the project.

"It's not in a great state of repair so we have started raising funds."

Proposed images of the workshop space at the Art Station Picture: THE ART STATION

Proposed images of the workshop space at the Art Station Picture: THE ART STATION - Credit: Archant

Now the project has been given a massive boost by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership who have provided £50,000 from its Growing Places Fund.

The fund provides money to support development projects across Norfolk and Suffolk.

Iain Dunnett, senior growing places co-ordinator for the LEP, said: "The LEP regards the project as having significant social impact through creating cultural and enterprising activity, volunteering and work experience opportunities within the town and surrounding areas.

"It will have a positive impact on the high street of Saxmundham, bringing creative vibrancy to this location."

There will be office space within the new hub Picture: THE ART STATION

There will be office space within the new hub Picture: THE ART STATION - Credit: Archant

Those behind the Art Station are confident of the change it will help bring to the town.

"It's not been used for a long time and so there's a huge amount of interest," said Ms Dobney.

"It will lift the whole of Saxmundham."

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