Public consultations to start on Mildenhall Hub plans

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Public consultations are to begin next month on a multi million pound project to bring together public services in Mildenhall.

The Mildenhall Hub scheme, developed by Forest Heath District Council, would see services including Suffolk County Council, Mildenhall College Academy, the Department for Work and Pensions and Suffolk West Citizen’s Advice Bureau brought together on one site.

The council hopes to create the hub, which would also encompass police, health and leisure services, including a replacement swimming pool, and community organisations, on one site in Sheldrick Way.

A business case put together for the scheme in 2014 estimated the potenial total costs of the development at £50 million.

A report to be presented to the district council’s cabinet on July 14 estimates a ‘maximum’ cost of £16 million to the local authority, for the construction of the site’s leisure and office facilities.

Cllr James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said: “This is all about our residents – providing them with better integrated services in one central location, huge annual savings to public sector services in turn benefitting our taxpayers, and releasing surplus sites for regeneration whether that is for housing or the creation of new jobs or both.

“This is a visionary concept, not just for Forest Heath, or East Anglia but for the whole of the UK, an exciting and ambitious project that will bring schools, council and other services on one site to make every penny count and secure the long term future of services for the people of Mildenhall and the surrounding area.”

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock said: “I am delighted to hear that Forest Heath District Council have started the planning process for the Mildenhall Hub.

“I strongly support this ground-breaking project which will bring together local public services in and around Mildenhall through the creation of a unique hub.

“The hub will provide a single site for education, health, leisure, council, DWP, voluntary sector, emergency services and enterprise space and in doing so will cut costs.”

The cabinet report states the district council’s intention to seek funding from the Department for Education towards moving Mildenhall College Academy from its Bury Road site to Sheldrick Way, where its sixth form centre is already based.

It also states an allowance of £500,000 has been added to the business case estimates for highways improvements to town centre junctions, based on a transport assessment carried out last year.

The hub scheme has already received funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government and has been adopted by the Government as part of its One Public Estate Programme.

For more information on the project, visit www.mildenhallhub.info.