Developer's £1.2m will fund community car park and other village projects
- Credit: West Suffolk CCG
A housing developer is investing £1.2million in Woolpit, part of which will be used to fund a new community car park for the village.
David Wilson Homes is building a new 115-home community, Abbots Green, at Old Stowmarket Road, and will provide the money as part of the planning agreement.
Land adjoining Woolpit Health Centre is being transferred to Mid Suffolk District Council, enabling the council to deliver additional car parking for staff and patients, as demand grows due to Covid vaccination appointments.
The developer said the money will also be used for a new and widened footway and cycle track, linking the new housing development to the bus stops and the village centre.
Simon Wood, managing director at David Wilson Homes Eastern Counties, said: “Investing in local communities is an extremely important part of building a new housing development. We pride ourselves on our commitment to the local community and strive to support it wherever we can."
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Woolpit was one of the first coronavirus vaccination sites in Suffolk and has already administered thousands of vaccinations at its temporary home at Woolpit Business Park.
However, the location will return to its original use once lockdown restrictions begin to ease, and vaccinations will instead be carried out at Woolpit Health Centre, which is still providing routine GP services.
Nearly 2,300 people received the Covid-19 jab in a single day during a drive-through vaccination centre trial in the village in February.
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Mid Suffolk District Council is working in partnership with the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Suffolk County Council, Woolpit Parish Council, and David Wilson Homes on proposals for the new car park.
Work on the first stage of the project, linking the land to the health centre’s existing car park, will involve the removal of a short section of hedgerow separating the areas, once an inspection has been carried out to assess the presence of wildlife and nesting birds.
Significant drainage and resurfacing works are needed, but it is hoped the car park will be fully operational in the summer. Until completion, patients are being asked to walk or cycle to the surgery where possible, to increase availability of spaces for those with limited mobility.
Plans for the long-term community use of the car park are currently being explored with Woolpit Parish Council.
David Burn, Mid Suffolk’s cabinet member for planning, thanked all involved and said: "Their help is enabling us to expedite plans for a much-needed community car park – ensuring parking spaces are available for critical medical staff and vulnerable residents who are attending their vaccination appointment.”
Dr Ed Garratt, Chief Executive of West Suffolk CCG, said: “We believe the construction of this new car park will really increase ease of access for many people to the health centre.