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Bury St Edmunds: Deal for new community centre will see residents take it over

PUBLISHED: 11:46 14 June 2014

Newbury Community Centre, St Olaves Road, Bury St Edmunds.

Newbury Community Centre, St Olaves Road, Bury St Edmunds.

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An historic agreement to revitalise a Bury St Edmunds community centre and place it in the hands of residents has officially been signed.

The landmark agreement between St Edmundsbury Borough Council and the Newbury Community Association (NCA) has the long-term aim of seeing the NCA take over a replacement for the Newbury Community Centre, on the Howard Estate.

The deal states that the council will undertake a feasibility study into providing a new community centre. Although the new building is not guaranteed, the agreement states that the council will work with the NCA and Havebury Housing Association towards the end goal of a new community centre.

It also means the council will pledge to continue maintaining the existing Newbury Community Centre up to 2019 – by which time it is hoped that the new centre may be built.

Sara Mildmay-White, St Edmundsbury’s portfolio holder for health and communities, said: “It has been a long-term belief of this council that those at the very heart of their community should take ownership of their centre.

“It is an aspiration shared by residents living on the estate. The signing sets out our clear ambition to work towards achieving a brand new community centre for future generations.

“It is great news for the residents who can ensure that their new centre will become a focal point for nearby families to enjoy for decades to come.”

The council has been seeking to transfer the ownership of the Newbury Community Centre over to the community, but the NCA – which runs the facility – has been reluctant to take the building on in its current state of repair.

Ivy Goodman, chairman of the NCA said: “The existing hall was built in 1969. We have lots of clubs use it for all sorts of things. It is very popular and I think it will be good to have a new building.”

Philip Sullivan, director of operations at Havebury, added: “Havebury is looking forward to working with the local community and St Edmundsbury Borough Council to look at the options for the future.”

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