Ambitious family centre plans for Carlton Colville go on diplay

Ambitious plans to build a �3m family centre in a north Suffolk community went on display yesterday for curious residents to examine.

The Discovery Family Centre for Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft, could become a reality in the next 12 to 18 months and its backers say it should become the 'heart' of the community by providing much-needed facilities for young and old alike.

Plans for the centre include a wide range of facilities, including a creche, gym, recording studios, meeting and education rooms, a community garden and a main hall, which could house a community cinema, local groups, craft events and religious ceremonies.

The blueprints for the �3m centre went on display yesterday afternoon at Carlton Colville's Grove Primary School and, in the space of 30 minutes, about 60 people had already visited the open day.

People could vote on which facilities they would like to see if the centre was built, including a community cafe, post office, cycle repair centre and after school clubs.

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And the residents were asked which one of three sites they would prefer to see the centre built - at the rear of the Crown pub off Caslteton Avenue, next to the Hall Road community centre or on the site of Carlton Colville Primary School.

Lesley Freeman, 62, of Cowslip Road, was impressed with the scope of the plans.

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She said: 'I think the plans look lovely. I like the way it has something for people of all age groups. At the moment we don't have a post office so having one in the centre would be perfect.'

Equally impressed was Barbara Bird, 73, of Famona Road, who said: 'A post office would be good, so would a cafe where you can have a coffee and a cinema.

'It will also be good for young people as there is nothing for the to do around here.'

The Discovery Family Centre is a charity group made up of local people and which was set up to address the lack of leisure and community facilities in the area, which has a population of 6,000.

It is hoped grants can be secured for the centre's construction, but local residents and business are also being asked to help the project by making donations.

People attending yesterday's open day were asked if they would be willing to make a financial donation towards the cost of the building.

A spokesman for the centre group, said: 'There has been strong interest today and the feedback so far has been very positive.

'Once we have collected everyone's views, it will help us plough on to the funding stage.

'I think the Discovery Family Centre could become the heart of the community.'

As well as local residents, the centre group is made up of a local GP and councillors and Grove Primary School. It is supported by Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who is its patron, and Waveney District Council.

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