Youth and arts centre proposed as new venue for children’s centre
- Credit: Picture: SCOTT MORTIMER ARCHITEC
Calls from across the political divide have been made for a town’s under threat children’s centre to be moved to a new community centre.
The Caterpillar Centre in Woodbridge is facing the threat of closure following a consultation on the future of children's centres in Suffolk.
The Woodbridge centre was one of two that could be closed by Suffolk County Council, which is proposing to move some services into Woodbridge Library.
Now councillors from the Labour and the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent groups have called on the county council to look into moving the centre into the new Jetty Lane Youth Centre project.
Fundraising for the multi-use venue is currently underway with planning permission for the building having been secured last year.
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Caroline Page, county councillor for Woodbridge and chairman of the Jetty Lane project, said: "It is really disappointing that this consultation hasn't given the people of Woodbridge any real choice. We have simply been told that our children's centre will close, without any real explanation why or any alternative options.
"Woodbridge and the surrounding area needs a children's centre - and I think our new Jetty Lane Youth Centre could be the perfect location once it is built. The current Caterpillar Centre still has some years left on the lease, so there would be plenty of time to transition over to the new location.
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"I am calling for the County Council to work together with me and the rest of the Jetty Lane project team, to explore how we can move the location of the children's centre and safeguard future services for families in Woodbridge."
Sharon Miller, a Woodbridge Town Councillor, said: "Suffolk County Council have given the Jetty Lane project a 100 year lease - the land was originally used for a community centre serving Woodbridge's young people so it would seem very fitting for them to work with the Jetty Lane committee to support its future use to include children and local families.
"The local Labour Party and town councillors have been very supportive of the development of the project locally and will continue to be so.
"The lease on the Caterpillar Children's Centre is set to run until 2022, so there is plenty of time to put arrangements in place at Jetty Lane to ensure that Woodbridge continues to benefit from a children's centre which has been a lifeline to so many of our residents.
"I would implore Suffolk County Council to rethink this closure and explore the opportunity to establish a new children's centre at Jetty Lane."
The consultation finished on March 1 and Suffolk County Council is currently reviewing the results.