New homes and community facility in village set for green light

Trustees of the Worlingham Community

David Bland, Paul Gurbutt, Adrian Crockett, Norman Brooks, Jon Smith, Wendy Summerfield, Sheila Smith, Steve Larkin and Dave Howson, trustees of the Worlingham Community Facility, at the site of the former Worlingham Primary School where Worlingham Community Facility will be built. - Credit: Danielle Booden

A village's long-awaited community facility has taken another step closer to reality.

Plans for 19 new homes and a new community centre in Worlingham, near Beccles are being earmarked for approval.

After Worlingham Primary School moved from Rectory Lane to larger premises on Garden Lane - the former Worlingham Middle School - in 2013, plans to turn the Rectory Lane site into a community centre have been in the pipeline.

The Rectory Lane site was eventually demolished in 2015.

With Worlingham believed to be the largest village in Suffolk without a community centre, pub or meeting room following the closure of the church hall in 2008, the Rectory Lane land was legally transferred to the Worlingham Community Facility group from Suffolk County Council at the end of August last year.

After the Worlingham Community Facility trustees expressed delight at the developments, last September Badger Building (E.Anglia) Ltd submitted plans to East Suffolk Council centring around "construction of 19 dwellings, new community centre with associated parking and two new access roads off Rectory Lane".

The scheme is being recommended for approval by planning officers, with East Suffolk Council’s planning committee north set to meet at Riverside in Lowestoft next Tuesday, January 11, to vote on the plans.

The former site of the now-demolished Worlingham Primary School where the Worlingham Community Facility is to be built.

The former site of the now-demolished Worlingham Primary School where the Worlingham Community Facility is to be built. - Credit: Danielle Booden

A design and access statement submitted by Edward Gilder, on behalf of the applicants, said: "This scheme is an exciting public /private sector partnership, with the explicit aim of delivering the much-needed new community centre for Worlingham."

A planning report to councillors states: "The proposal seeks to deliver an essential community facility in the form of a community centre which has seen significant collaboration between stakeholders over many years, previously gaining planning permission in 2015 which was unable to be implemented at that time.

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"The housing development proposed within this application enables the delivery of this facility and would deliver a useful contribution to housing supply."

With the recommendation to councillors to "approve with conditions," it concludes: "The proposal would give rise to significant public benefits including the provision of a community centre, 19-dwelling contribution to housing supply, CIL contributions, short term construction job creation and longer term spend in the local economy by future residents.

"Therefore, the proposal is considered to represent a sustainable form of development and officers recommend that planning permission be granted."