Vital step forward for new community centre at Bungay

THE push for a much-needed new community centre for Bungay has taken a vital step forward with the granting of planning permission or the �2 million project.

Waveney's development control committee gave its blessing to the plans for a new community centre and play park on the old Grammar School field in St John's Road at its latest meeting.

Now the bid to win funding begins in earnest, and an appeal went out this week for the town to get behind the project.

The single storey centre will be of two distinct parts. One is the community wing, with a grand hall capable of accommodating 150 seated dinner guests, with adjacent kitchen and bar facilities. A demountable marquee over the terrace will raise this to 200. The Hall will be divisible into two by a central sound-proof partition, permitting simultaneous hire of each space.

The second is a 40 seater conference/recreation room, looking out over a picnic area, served by a kiosk off the lobby, and beyond that to the new children's play area and existing skateboard park. To the rear of the building, there will be an enterprise wing, providing an open plan area of 16 units of desk space for rent, plus 5 self-contained 'incubator' offices for start-up businesses. The original diagonal footpath across the field has been maintained within the landscaping of the surrounding area as has the lime tree avenue to the old school building.

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In a recent survey of the district's play area facilities, Bungay came at the bottom of the league table. This new state-of-the-art facility, incorporating, amongst much other modern equipment, a five- metre tall giant swing and a zip wire plus a separate play area for the youngest children, close to the picnic area – something Martin Evans said would 'put the town near to the top of the league.'

Mr Evans, chairman of the new centre development committee, added: 'Now that permission has been granted, the really hard work begins to raise the funds to pay for this much-discussed, long-awaited new facility. The support we are receiving from Suffolk County council and Waveney District Council, in different ways, is magnificent. Despite the prevailing economic maelstrom, funds are there for good sustainable projects and we believe we have just that. The efforts of our local community in keeping interest alive over the long haul have been most encouraging to the trustees. We believe it will not be too long before we can open this fine new centre and play park in the heart of the town.'

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