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At last, community centre gets the cash

PUBLISHED: 16:16 25 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:05 22 October 2010

Work can finally start on a community centre which residents have been waiting 11 years for after a council agreed to supply last-minute finances.

The battle to build a centre on the Bloodmoor Hill estate in Lowestoft has been long drawn-out - but community leaders said yesterday they believed the £300,000 funding was now in place.

Work can finally start on a community centre which residents have been waiting 11 years for after a council agreed to supply last-minute finances.

The battle to build a centre on the Bloodmoor Hill estate in Lowestoft has been long drawn-out - but community leaders said yesterday they believed the £300,000 funding was now in place.

They were told that money would be made available for a centre to go with 1000 new homes built in 1995 - but have since had to put up with two second-hand and rotting portable cabins.

In May chairman of the community association Ron Bell told the EDP that a £120,000 lottery grant would have to be returned if Waveney District Council did not stump up £50,000 to meet a funding shortfall caused by inflation while the council delayed the project.

A series of crisis meetings were called with senior officials at the council - which have resulted in a proposal, to be voted upon this week, to meet the shortfall and get the project off the ground.

But instead of a grant as community leaders requested, the council is only prepared to provide a loan, the rate of interest to be decided upon during a meeting of the council's Executive on Thursday.

Waveney official Simon Travis said: “There is a need to provide additional community facilities in the Carlton Colville area. The current facilities are no longer fit for purpose and do not provide an adequate resource for the community.

“The community association has been successful in identifying and obtaining considerable external funding but there is a funding gap of £52,000. If the association cannot fill that gap, there is a clear risk that available funding will be put at risk.

“The provision of a loan facility enables the association to demonstrate that it has sufficient funding in place to complete the project, which will enable the build process to be begun.”

Last night Mr Bell welcomed the council's move but said that the association was disappointed the money was coming in a loan rather than a grant.

He said: “We'd rather have a grant but we've spent a long time debating this with the council and there was no way we were going to get that.

“We've still got to discuss details of repayment, there are further debates to be had, but we wouldn't be against a long-term loan.

“At long last we look as if we can now get the trenches dug and the show on the road. We're raring to go - we've been waiting a long time for this.”

Mr Bell said that with architects' plans long drawn-up and contractors already chosen and standing by, work can start days after the loan is approved.


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