Community rooms at 'end of their life' to be revamped as council approves £800k funding
PUBLISHED: 07:30 14 November 2019
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The church hall in a Suffolk town is to be revamped for social use after more than £800,000 of funding was approved for the project.
In November's monthly Framlingham Town Council meeting, councillors unanimously passed two motions supporting redevelopment work at St Michael's Community Rooms, in the church grounds in Church Street.
St Michael's Community Rooms, which have served Framlingham as a social venue for 130 years, are in need of redevelopment - with council chairman Philip Collins describing them as at the "end of their life".
Following two years of discussions between the Parochial Church Council (PCC), who own the church hall, and Framlingham Town Council, the wheels have been set in motion for redevelopment work to proceed in the future.
Framlingham Town Council agreed to provide £70,000 of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding for St Michael's Community Rooms, which the PCC will aim to match.
Additionally, the town council passed a motion supporting the allocation of £700,000 in CIL funding from East Suffolk Council for the project.
The church hall is currently widely-used by the Framlingham community and beyond, hosting activities such as fitness classes and art displays.
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Mr Collins said: "The Community Rooms are in a good, central location for Framlingham in the heart of the town.
"The project being approved is good news for Framlingham and the surrounding areas.
"The life of the current building is now limited - it's beyond its sell-by date.
"If it closed without notice, there would be nowhere for our communities to meet."
Clive Eastwood, councillor for Framlingham, echoed Mr Collins' sentiments.
Mr Eastwood said: "This has been going for a long time. There is overwhelming support for the St Michael's Community Rooms project from the council.
"I'm delighted that the project is going ahead.
"The rooms will be used for meeting spaces and exhibitions. It will very much be a community project, and not just a church one."
Mr Eastwood said he hopes the redevelopment will commence within six to 12 months.