Centre revamp in running for building award

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A BUILDING project which revamped the historic home of a community centre is in the running for a top prize.

The redevelopment of The Centre, in St John’s Street, Bury St Edmunds, has been shortlisted in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors East of England Awards in categories for community benefit and building conservation.

Work on the 19th century building included the restoration of a slate roof and new additions such as a central kitchen, flooring to two halls, storage cupboards and heating system.

The former infants school has also been fully insulated and double glazing fitted as part of the £700,000 refurbishment.

The bulk of the work was completed between November 2009-10 by GJ Bream Ltd, of Bury.

Some 22 projects in the region will compete in the awards, starting with a regional heat, and the winners will be announced at a gala dinner in St Albans in May.

Those successful in the regional heat will then form the shortlist for the national grand final awards in London in October.

Adrian Mann, vice-chairman of BECT, which runs the community centre, said: “A lot of work has gone into refurbishing and improving the centre so we’re very pleased it has been recognised.

“We’ve had a very good team working on it.

“There was a lot of creative work and some really good craftsmanship in terms of the carpentry.

“We’ve all worked together very well to get a very good result.

“Thanks to everyone who funded and supported the work.”

The centre, which has a Fairtrade shop and café, is used by about 12 groups, such as the Royal British Legion Women’s Section, Suffolk Islamic Cultural Association and the Golden Days Club.

The centre was built as a school in the early 1840s and was completed by the turn of the 20th century following a number of extensions.

Those who funded the development included the Big Lottery Community Building Grant, Suffolk Environmental Trust and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.