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Lakenheath: Village project’s £75k safety net

PUBLISHED: 14:41 14 March 2014

Archant

A village campaign to create a community hub has been given a boost after its district council agreed to stump up a £75,000 safety net.

Forest Heath District Council made the commitment to the People’s Project in Lakenheath after a tense and lengthy debate between councillors on Wednesday night.

Councillors agreed to provide a loan of up to £75,000 to help campaigners purchase the village’s old Royal British Legion (RBL) hall before an April 7 deadline.

But the loan will only be given as a last resort and has an interest rate of 10%, to be repaid over two years.

The campaign has been spearheaded by resident Brendan Fulham, who also said the loan left him in a difficult position as it would make it hard for the project to secure grant funding in the future.

He added: “On the one hand I’m pleased that we have that money as a back-up, but on the other hand I fear for how we will secure money for the next stage.

“The first question grantors ask is ‘do you own the building’? If we don’t, it’s difficult for them to loan us money because they’re actually loaning to someone else.”

Villagers hope to purchase the old RBL hall in Lakenheath and merge it with the Memorial Peace Hall next door.

The RBL hall is currently under embargo for private sale to allow villagers the chance to raise £120,000 to buy it.

While their efforts so far have raised almost £40,000, making up the shortfall received a blow when their application for National Lottery funding was turned down.

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