New £1 million community centre on Bury estate is a step closer

Site of the old Howard Primary School

PICTURE: Mecha Morton
Site of the old Howard Primary School PICTURE: Mecha Morton
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A planning application for a new community centre on a Bury St Edmunds estate will be submitted soon.

The facility on the Howard estate will be built on part of the former Howard Primary School site, in St Olaves Road, and cost more than £1 million.

It will replace the neighbouring Newbury Community Centre, which will be demolished to make way for housing that will cover most of the costs of the new centre.

St Edmundsbury Borough Cllr Paul Hopfensperger, who has been heavily involved in the project, said: “The old Newbury Community Centre is well used by my residents for everything from birthday parties and wedding receptions, through to social events for the over 60s, exercise classes, swimming clubs and lots more.

“A new centre is much needed to serve both the young and old as well as families on the estate and I for one cannot wait to celebrate the official opening.”

The designs for the application were shaped by consultations with residents.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which owns the current centre, believes community centres should be owned by the neighbourhoods they serve.

The Newbury Community Association (NCA), which runs the building, will take on ownership of the new facility.

An outline planning application for the centre and housing will be submitted in the spring.

If approved, a developer will then be appointed and a more detailed planning application drawn up.

Permission is being sought from the Government to approve the disposal of the school site.

Ivy Goodman, on behalf of the NCA, said: “This is a centre designed by the community for the community and I hope that it is something that local residents will use regularly to come together and enjoy themselves for whatever the social occasion.”

Cllr Robert Everitt, the borough’s cabinet member for families and communities, added: “Our whole Families and Communities strategy is about helping communities to help themselves.

“The project team has engaged with the community, asked them what they would like to see and use their community centre for and reshaped the proposals based on their views.”