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Action call over community hall battle

PUBLISHED: 15:14 08 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:08 03 March 2010

RESIDENTS in a community on the outskirts of Ipswich were today calling for action after a ten-year battle for a community hall has reached a standstill over a legal wrangle.

RESIDENTS in a community on the outskirts of Ipswich were today calling for action after a ten-year battle for a community hall has reached a standstill over a legal wrangle.

A site has been earmarked for the £400,000 development on an area of waste ground on Belmont Road, in Pinewood.

A third of the money has already been pledged and planning permission granted for the hall, which was to be a vital social centre.

But residents say moves forward have ground to a halt over land lease issues yet to be resolved between the Ipswich Borough Council (the landowners) and Pinewood Parish Council.

Celia Rutt, of the management committee who have been campaigning for the development, said: "The whole thing has been one long, slow, sad process.

"We can't approach the community fund [which is the lottery] until the land lease issues have been resolved.

"We have super plans and a lot of people say they will use it but we are just getting frustrated.

"People have to go outside the parish to meet when they would rather have somewhere within walking distance. There are smaller villages with better facilities.

"The area of land is an eyesore. There was an article in The Evening Star about the shops concerned about the appearance of the land, which has overgrown trees etc.

"The local women's institute collected seven bags of rubbish from there all in one morning."

The community hall would have one large hall, to be used for activities such as badminton and line dancing, and two smaller meeting rooms for adult learning sessions, slimmers clubs or mums and toddler groups.

It would serve a population of around 5,000 people, including those living in the Thorington Hall development.

Meanwhile, a spokesman from Ipswich Borough Council said: "The situation is that the council is negotiating with the parish council over the development of the hall."

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