Land to be transferred to trustees as demolition work starts on Worlingham school site

Demolition work starting at the former Worlingham Primary School site. Picture: Nick Butcher

Demolition work starting at the former Worlingham Primary School site. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Demolition work has started on a former school site in preparation for a community hub to be built.

Demolition work starting at the former Worlingham Primary School site. Picture: Nick Butcher

Demolition work starting at the former Worlingham Primary School site. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Worlingham is believed to be the largest village in Suffolk without a community centre, pub or meeting room following the closure of the church hall in 2008. And since then a group of volunteers have been working tirelessly to replace the old primary school with a new centre.

Planning permission for the Worlingham Community Facility was secured in 2015, and with approval now granted by the Secretary of State to dispose of the playing field, work can finally get under way.

Wendy Summerfield, part of the steering group leading the bid, said: 'It's so nice to see work starting after all this time. It has been a long running thing and every time we've got over one hurdle we've had another one thrown at us.

'But the steering group is still keen and we want to get started as soon as we can.'

The former Worlingham Primary School building in Rectory Lane. Picture: Nick Butcher

The former Worlingham Primary School building in Rectory Lane. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher


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The facility will be built on the old primary school site in Rectory Lane along with 15 homes. It will include a large hall, meeting rooms, an office, kitchen, licensed bar and parking.

Mrs Summerfield said: 'The first part of the planning permission and agreement was that Suffolk County Council would demolish the building before the land is transferred over to the Worlingham Community Facility Trustees. So at the moment it still belongs to the county council.

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'We are in the process of getting a developer to come on board to get started on the building, but I'm not sure how long it is going to take.'

Special contractors went in before Christmas to remove asbestos from the site, and demolition work started earlier this month.

The sale of the land for the development of the homes will then be used to pay for the community centre.

'At the moment we've got a little bit of money in the pot, but we don't have the funding to do the building until the land is given to us and then we can work with the developer,' said Mrs Summerfield.

'It will be either one developer doing both projects or two developers doing each project, but because of the way planning permission was granted they will have to work closely together.'

Mrs Summerfield said the planning agreement stipulates that by the time half of the homes are completed work must have started on the hall and the hall must be completed by the time the last house is finished.

The committee of 11 met again this week to discuss applying for other grants and the best route to get a developer on board. A Suffolk County Council spokesman said the demolition phase is expected to be completed next week.

He added: 'Transfer will take place as soon as all the legal documents have been agreed. They are currently with the solicitors representing the community group due to take over.'

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