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Developers selected to build new Community Centre and homes

06 December 2018

A community-led scheme to create a new social centre and 79 new homes in Bury St Edmunds, has announced a partnership with a preferred developer this week.

The Newbury Community Association (NCA), Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council have  selected one of the UK’s top ten home builders, Keepmoat Homes to seek detailed planning permission and undertake the work at the former Howard Community Primary School and the Newbury Community Centre sites on St Olaves Road.

A new Community Centre and Children’s Centre will be built on part of the former school site and ownership of the new building will be handed over to the Newbury Community Association who run the existing Community Centre.

The old centre, which was built half a century ago, will then be demolished and replaced with housing. Housing will also be developed on the remaining part of the former school site and the current Children’s Centre site.  The scheme will include 30 per cent affordable housing and has received a grant of £670,000 from the Government under its Land Release Fund.

Barbara Bannister, Chair of the NCA said: “This is fabulous news not just for all those people and groups who use the community centre and the social club now, but also for the future. We will have a better community centre, offering even more of a variety of activities as well as facilities to hire for parties and other events. Our estate has grown and changed over the years but we want the community centre to remain at the heart of it for decades to come, including the new residents of Marham Park. This a major step forward toward achieving that ambition.”

Mick O’farrell, Regional Managing Director at Keepmoat Homes, said: “We’re delighted to named as the preferred developer by the NCA, Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council. As the UK’s leading partnership home builder, we look forward to working with all our partners to deliver a modern community centre and much needed new homes for the benefit of the whole community.”

Cllr Robert Everitt, Cabinet Member for Families and Communities at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “Nearly all of our local communities now own and run their own community centres. The volunteers who run the centre on the Howard Estate raised concerns about the existing building so we have been working with them over a number of years to try to come up with a solution that will deliver them a new community centre, better suited to the areas local needs, as well as much needed affordable homes. Today’s announcement means we are much closer to seeing the start of construction and that I think is testament to the hard work and determination of the NCA volunteers.”

Joy Stodart, Schools Commissioning Manager for Suffolk County Council, said: “This project has been pioneering. It is very satisfying to work in partnership with the Borough authority and the local community to provide much needed capital funding for education as well as fit for purpose community and children’s centre facilities.”

Cllr Paul Hopfensperger who represents St Olaves Ward and is one of the Newbury Community Association’s representatives on the project board, has been heavily involved since its inception over seven years ago. He said: “The NCA, supported by St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Suffolk County Council, ran three successful consultation events asking people in the community what facilities they would like to see in their new centre. This is their centre and as one of the local ward members I am really pleased to be delivering exactly what they have asked us for. I can’t wait to see this much needed facility built and being used by the local community.”

Ben Stoneman, One Public Estate Regional Programme Manager said: “It is great to see the rapid progress of West Suffolk councils and partners in selecting a developer partner to deliver this scheme, enabling the release of land for much needed housing and new community facilities. The scheme will be a great example of working in partnership across the public sector estate and effective use of the Government’s Land Release Fund to support housing delivery.”

The project already has outline planning permission for a new community centre including a replacement Carousel Children’s Centre, and up to 79 new homes of which 30 per cent will be Affordable Housing.

Keepmoat Homes will now bring forward detailed plans for the site for planning approval, and subject to this, the land sale will be completed and it is anticipated redevelopment of the site could begin towards the middle of next year.

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