Village face lift planned

By Patrick LowmanAN ambitious multi-million-pound plan has been unveiled that could permanently change the face of a troubled village within the next two years.

By Patrick Lowman

AN ambitious multi-million-pound plan has been unveiled that could permanently change the face of a troubled village within the next two years.

Glemsford Parish Council has announced plans to build a brand new, all purpose community building by selling off its existing assets to make way for two new housing developments.

If the plans get the go ahead it is hoped the scheme will breathe new life into the community and help it overcome some of the problems it has faced over the past few years.

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In recent years both the village hall and the local social club have been struggling to survive due to falling membership numbers and lack of support from within the community.

The village hall has also been constantly targeted by young vandals who have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage. The vandalism became so bad that the parish council has employed private security guards to patrol its streets.

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The parish council and the social club owners are now working together to try and get the ambitious scheme off the ground in hope it will bring the community closer together and help revive the fortunes of the village facilities.

Negotiations between the parish council and a local farmer are now at an advanced stage over a parcel of land between the village playing field and Tower Meadow.

If the parish council manages to purchase the land it will then start planning to build the centre, will bring a new village hall, social club, a youth facilities park, a library and changing room facilities for local sports clubs under one roof.

The existing village hall at Tower Meadow and the social club on Hunts Hill would then be demolished and the land sold to building developers to make way for up to 20 new two, three-bedroom and affordable homes.

Parish chairman Colin Permenter said: "This is a very ambitious scheme and is in its early stages, but we are optimistic about it and its ability the breath new life into the village.

"If it gets the go ahead it would certainly change the face of the village in a positive way. In recent years both the village hall and the social club have failed to operate to their full potential. The social club used to have 600 members, but we are lucky to get 300 now. For the past two years the parish council has had to run the village hall on its own because we haven't been able to get up a management committee.

"We feel by bringing everything under one roof we can hopefully revive the fortunes of the facilities and bring the community closer together.

"We also hope to have living accommodation included within the building so that a steward could be on site to provide 24-hour security.

"We hope to raise the money for the scheme by selling off the other sites for housing, therefore it will not cost the taxpayer anything."

The parish council will now work with building consultants to carry out a feasibility study before holding formal discussions with Babergh District Council planners.

It is hoped the scheme could be complete within two years.

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