Plans lodged for town's new community centre

What the redeveloped St Michael's Rooms building could look like Picture: JAMES GORST ARCHITECTS

What the redeveloped St Michael's Rooms building could look like Picture: JAMES GORST ARCHITECTS - Credit: Archant

Plans have been submitted to demolish an ageing church hall in Framlingham and replace it with a £1.36million community centre.

St Michael's Rooms, a hall which has stood on the grounds of St Michael's Church since 1898, was only expected to last between 70 and 80 years when it was built and is in need of replacement.

The hall is still in use for a range of recreational activities, such as fitness classes and exhibitions.

Framlingham Parochial Church Council (PCC), which owns the building, has been developing plans to introduce a new community centre to the town since spring 2018.

The project is expected to cost more than £1million and is being partly funded by a contribution of £700,000 in community infrastructure levy (CIL) funding from East Suffolk Council.

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Framlingham Town Council is also contributing £126,000 of CIL money, having initially only agreed to pay out £70,000.

The original estimated cost to replace the hall was around £840,000 - but the price has since escalated by 62%. 

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A public exhibition on the redevelopment project was held in January this year and architects James Gorst unveiled artists' impressions shots of the proposed community centre a month later.

The architects said the building would use "high-quality, natural materials" in an area "that feels both sheltered by the trees and connected to the town", with the church grounds only a short walk away from the centre of Framlingham.

The PCC said it was "excited" to proceed with the project and will launch more fundraising schemes for the project in the future.

Planning documents submitted with the application added: "The new building will benefit the community and provide a much needed resource to the town generally.

"Throughout the preparation of this proposal we have remained mindful of the responsibility of building a new community building into such a picturesque and historic context.

"The generosity of the projecting pediment and of the overhanging eaves symbolise the sheltering embrace of a community hall at a time when such resources are becoming increasingly scarce in the public realm.

"This building will be a celebration of communal activity and will represent the fruition of countless hours of unpaid civic-minded activity by public spirited members of the Framlingham community."

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