Council scoops £230,000 towards major regeneration plans for Mildenhall
A council has scooped £230,000 towards major regeneration plans which will ‘shape the future and fortunes of Mildenhall’.
Forest Heath District Council will receive the Government money towards work planning for the closure of RAF Mildenhall, the wider growth of the town and the Mildenhall Hub Project, which will co-locate public services onto one site.
Cllr James Waters, leader of the authority, said the Government recognised the ‘huge challenges’ in preparing for the closure of RAF Mildenhall in six years time.
He said: “The decisions that we make over the next few years can shape or break local growth and prosperity.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to use publicly-owned land to shape the future and fortunes of Mildenhall and the surrounding area and we will not let this chance slip.
“The Government, in giving us this funding, recognise that we, working with our local communities – are best placed to take this forward.
“We expect to find out in the early part of next year whether the MOD plans to retain the RAF Mildenhall site. We have pressed home our residents’ concerns that under no circumstances should it be mothballed.
“Should it release part or all of the site, there is a huge opportunity of jobs and housing growth to be considered within our local plan.”
The Mildenhall Hub would bring together various services and those involved in the idea include Mildenhall College Academy, Mildenhall swimming pool and the Dome, Suffolk County Council including the fire service, the police and West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group.
Cllr Waters said the hub ‘is not only about reducing the costs of public services to the taxpayer, but also about bringing them together, improving ease of access to the public and better services through greater cooperation’.
West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock added: “This is excellent news for Mildenhall. I am delighted that the Government is putting its money where its mouth is and funding the further development for the town’s innovative hub project.
“Next year is set to be a busy one for Mildenhall, but I know that this hub has the chance to be ground-breaking, providing a single site for education, health, leisure, council, DWP, voluntary sector, emergency services and enterprise space.
“The cost to the tax payer will be reduced and local services in Mildenhall will be brought together and working as one.
“Mildenhall is leading the way. Where Mildenhall leads the rest of the country follows and I will do all I can to help deliver this.”
The bid for the funds from the Government’s One Public Estate programme was made by West Suffolk councils, Suffolk County Council, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, New Anglia LEP and the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group.