Stowmarket: The Mix youth project needs �250,000 to complete plans

A MULTI-MILLION pound youth project needs extra cash to stop the building where it will be based becoming an “eyesore”, according to its trustees chairman.

The Mix, a Suffolk County Council-backed project in Ipswich Street, Stowmarket, needs to find an extra �250,000 if the original plans are to be completed. Large paintings by local children – designed as a temporary measure to mask the building work behind – surround the building. But now the council wants to leave the art work up in a bid to cut costs.

At a Stowmarket Town Council meeting, the centre’s project manager, Adri van der Colff, said the county council’s preferred option would be to keep the painted murals at the front of the building because it was “affordable.”

The entire project was due to be completed this month but work to the rear of the site is now not expected to be finished until March 2013.

Chairman of the trustees John Shaw told the meeting the problems arose because of the district and town councils’ objections to a plan to knock down a Victorian house at the front of the complex.

He added: “There’s no way it’s going to be built before the end of March. We desperately need some help – if we cannot get our act together in Stowmarket we are going to have an eyesore.”

The project suffered a setback in December when planning officials objected to the demolition of the house at the front of the complex. Planning permission was obtained in 2011 to retain and refurbish the house. But when work started it became apparent the building was in a poor state of repair and that it would not be fit for the centre’s planned 60-year life cycle.

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A further proposal was submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council to demolish the building and replace it with a new one. But the planning committee objected to the proposals.

Mrs van der Colff said youngsters were eager to start using the centre. “It’s not where we want to be, we have massively over-run,” she said.

The plan to repair the front of the building would exceed the budget. “The most suitable solution looks likely to be unaffordable in terms of the project budget and the value of the building,” she added.

It is now expected that a planning document will be submitted in August, with the earliest possible planning meeting being in October.

It is hoped The Mix will be used as a base for youth workers, offer training and work advice and provide temporary housing for young people.

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