Backing for Halesworth Campus plan

PEOPLE in Halesworth have overwhelmingly backed a proposal that will eventually create new, state-of-the-art sports facilities in the town.

A public vote held at the weekend saw 1,101 people express their views on a proposal to sell Dairy Hill Playing Field to generate funds to transform the soon-to-be-vacated and adjacent Halesworth Middle School into a sporting, education and employment complex.

The playing field, which is owned by the Halesworth Playing Fields Association, can only be sold following a public vote of Halesworth residents over the age of 18 – according to the association's 1952 constitution. The association has already voted unanimously to support the move.

Some 574 eligible people in the town voted in favour of the proposal to sell the land and 29 voted against.

Now the proposals to sell the land have the go-ahead, the not-for-profit local community group behind the plans will be able to move forward and work with developers and partners to turn their ambitions into reality.

The sports facilities will include an indoor swimming pool, fitness gym and all-weather sports pitch.

Tony Goldson, county councillor for Halesworth and chairman of the Halesworth Campus group, said: 'I'm thrilled. This is a major milestone in our project and ambition to do something truly wonderful for Halesworth.

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'Although they are a fundamental part of the proposals, the campus project is not just about sports facilities. The vacated middle school site provides an outstanding opportunity for the community to regenerate the space to provide improved educational, employment and other community facilities for the town and its surrounding parishes for many years to come.'

The project has been backed by Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and Waveney MP Peter Aldous.

Mr Goldson added: 'There was also so much support from people living in the villages surrounding Halesworth and that was important because for the project to be a success it will need to be supported by people living in the whole area.'

Halesworth Middle School is due to be closed in July as part of the county council's plans to introduce a two-tier educational system in the area.

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