Village's long-awaited community facility one step closer
- Credit: Danielle Booden
The "long and winding road" to a village's community facility is nearing its final junction after a major step forward.
Worlingham is 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.
But now, six years after the former Worlingham Primary School building on Rectory Lane was demolished, the land was legally transferred to the Worlingham Community Facility group from Suffolk County Council at the end of August.
The group will now transfer the land to local builders Badger Homes, which will be contracted to build the single-storey community facility alongside their own planned development of 19 new houses.
Adrian Crockett, chair of the Worlingham Community Facility, said: "The trustees of the Worlingham Community Facility are delighted to announce that, after eight years, they are now the owners of the vacant plot in Rectory Lane that once housed Worlingham Primary School.
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"Badger are in the process of applying for updated planning permission and it is hoped that construction work will commence during 2022.
"One important element of the contract between the trustees and Badger is that the new facility must be completed before the last of the 19 homes are completed and sold.
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"Residents of Worlingham may well be aware that the former primary school was closed in 2013 and eventually demolished in 2015.
"Although the plot of land has remained vacant during this time, regular meetings of the trustees have been taking place, as well as negotiations with solicitors, Worlingham Parish Council, Suffolk County Council and, latterly, Badger Homes.
"It has truly been, in the words of Paul McCartney, a long and winding road."
The facility will take up around a quarter of the available land, based in the north-west corner of the plot, and include a main hall of about 17x9.5 metres, which can be divided with a folding partition.
One end of the main hall will have fully glazed bi-fold doors opening towards All Saints Green, while the building will also include a kitchen and bar serving area, reception area, three meeting rooms, two offices, toilet facilities and storage areas for tables, seating and staging.
Dedicated parking for around 40 cars will also be included next to the hall.