A folk music group has been given permission to open a community arts facility including a day centre for the disabled at former storage buildings at Bury St Edmunds Railway Station.
The Milkmaid Folk Arts Community Interest Company aims to launch the centre at the back of the station, in Fornham Road, where the disabled and able bodied can learn and enjoy music, drama and art through tutorials, workshops, concerts and therapy.
The proposals,were agreed by St Edmundsbury Borough Council today and this paves the way for organisers to seek further funding for the £400,000 to £500,000 project to revamp the Grade II listed building.
Cllr David Nettleton has objected due to concerns over road safety at the ‘busy multiple-use interchange’ with what he expects will be a ‘large number of cars entering and leaving’ the site.
The CIC, which grew out of the Milkmaid Folk Club, has already secured £160,000 from the Heritage Railway Trust, Chairman Terry Walden said: “I’ve worked with people with disabilities for quite a few years and wanted to do something they can really excel in.”
The day centre would provide music therapy, music tuition, art sessions and drama led by trained professionals.
It would offer daytime workshops on Saturdays for the wider community, evening activities for all people as well as a series of concerts, drama productions and exhibitions through the year. It follows their Milkmaid Thursday Folk Club for the disabled at The Apex, which has had 4,000 to 5,000 people through the door since it started in 2008.
Addressing Cllr Nettleton’s concerns, Mr Walden said the plans ‘would not gridlock Fornham Road’.
In a report to the council’s development control committee, officers said subject to appropriate conditions the plans ‘would not materially harm the amenities of nearby residents, and were not considered to raise any adverse issues in terms of highway safety’.