Final steps ahead for Worlingham’s community hub project

Adrain Crockett, Wendy Summerfield and Norman Brooks at the Worlingham Community Facility site. Pict

Adrain Crockett, Wendy Summerfield and Norman Brooks at the Worlingham Community Facility site. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Plans for the Worlingham Community Facility are inching closer to reality.

Proposals to knock down the old Worlingham Primary School building in Rectory Lane and build a community centre and 15 homes are well underway, with just a few more steps before work can finally begin.

The steering group responsible for the project has managed to secure planning permission and permission to change the use of the land the school is built on, and is just waiting on approval to dispose of the playing field land.

The Secretary of State for Education has to approve the disposal of any land used for school playing fields under Section 77 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998, and a decision is expected soon.

“Then it will be full steam ahead,” said district councillor and trustee of Worlingham Community Facility Norman Brooks. “It’s very close now, they’re looking at it as we speak.”

Adrian Crockett, chairman of the facility steering group said the Section 77 approval was “the last piece of the jigsaw.”

Conditions of the planning application means work on the housing could begin before the hall is started, but the community facility must be started by the time the housing development is half way through.

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Also, the housing development cannot be completed before the community hub is finished, which will include a main hall to seat 180, a social room, boardroom and an office for the parish council.

Worlingham is believed to be the largest village in Suffolk without a community centre, pub or meeting room after the church hall closed in 2008.

Secretary of the steering group Wendy Summerfield said despite the drawn out nature of the project, there was still plenty of momentum.

“Everyone is still keen and chomping at the bit,” she said.

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