Town is 'failing' its young people

A NORTH Suffolk town is “failing” its young people with an alarming lack of facilities, it has been claimed.The accusation came from a group of mothers who have been fighting for permanent premises for a playgroup and a youth group in Saxmundham.

A NORTH Suffolk town is “failing” its young people with an alarming lack of facilities, it has been claimed.

The accusation came from a group of mothers who have been fighting for permanent premises for a playgroup and a youth group in Saxmundham.

Members of Brook Farm Playgroup want to set up permanent home in the former caretaker's bungalow at Saxmundham Middle School after winning a £215,750 grant to provide wraparound childcare.

But the future is not looking so bright for youth organisation CYDS which, from a portable building, provides activities and support for 200 people up to 29 years old in the town.


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However it has now had to sell its portable building because of problems finding it a permanent home and having to move it from its present site behind Somerfield by tomorrow.

CYDS youth worker Ruth Croft said: “The decision was not an easy one to make, but the committee decided there was no other option in the time frame we were given.”

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She added: “CYDS also runs a centre in Leiston and they will be putting their efforts into that.”

The mothers believe the problem of a lack of facilities lies with local authorities allowing small-scale “infill” developments of less than 15 houses which are not bound by Section 106 of planning regulations - obliging them to make a financial contribution to the community.

Jackie Cox said: “Saxmundham has quadrupled in size. They are encouraging all these people to come and live here, but there's nothing for them to do once they get here.

“It's not just about our children it is about the whole generation and future generations.”

Sarah Pastor added: “At the moment Saxmundham as a town is failing its young people. It's all about setting the tone for a brighter future for our town.”

Colonel Ron Warren, town council chairman, admitted there was little in the town for young people, but said members were trying to set up a development partnership or trust to secure funding for future community projects.

He said: “There is no community centre, no swimming pool and very few sports facilities. We are trying but these things do not happen overnight. Of course it is a worry for us that there is little for people to do.”

Ivan Jowers, chairman of Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control committee said the council had to comply with national and local planning policies, and there was now a Government requirement to make efficient use of existing development sites - so called brown-field developments - to ease the pressure on undeveloped and greenfield land.

He said: “In terms of recent applications determined in Saxmundham, there has been no request or case made for Section 106 agreements and it should be understood that 15 units is the minimum figure for our planners being able to seek funding towards supporting local education services.”

karen.hindle@eadt.co.uk

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