Stowmarket: MP hopeful over community centre pledge

AN MP who chaired a meeting called to discuss the future of a much-promised community centre says he believes it will now be built.

David Ruffley, who represents Stowmarket through his Bury St Edmunds constituency, called the meeting in Cedars Park on Friday after years of delays to the construction of the community centre.

The Cedars Park development has thousands of new homes but very few facilities and at the meeting Mid Suffolk District Council leader Tim Passmore and developers Crest Nicholson pledged to speed up delivery of centre.

Mr Ruffley said he and the 70 residents had been given assurances that “concrete will be poured” next year.

He said: “It was about time we had people on the record in a public meeting who can make these commitments.


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“Everyone I spoke to at the end of it said this was the most definite thing they had heard in six years and I have every faith in Tim Passmore and the managing director of Crest that they don’t make statements like that on the record (without meaning them). I’m very encouraged and people seem very much ‘up for it’. It was most satisfactory.”

The vast majority of the funding is coming from Section 106 money, paid by Crest Nicholson and fellow developers working on Cedars park such as Bellway.

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The meeting also saw proposals agreed to form a community interest company (CiC) to run the centre and other community assets, an idea put forward by the Cedars Park Residents’ Association.

Mr Passmore said he was encouraged by the news and expected construction to begin in the spring.

He said: “We have now sorted out the 106 agreements and now have the pans and I think Crest are submitting them this week. Most people are of the understanding that with the recession, getting any money out of a developer is a challenge.

“This is a major application and it will be about 13 weeks for it to be assessed and dealt with and assuming that it all goes through then in the spring of next year we hope the JCBs will move in and we get cracking.”

Mr Passmore said the centre was what residents had wanted “for years” and he welcomed the formation of the CiC to run the site in the future.

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