Call for action at derelict site

PUBLISHED: 22:25 06 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:59 03 March 2010

SHOP owners overlooking a vacant piece of land on the Pinewood estate today called for action after branding the site opposite Laburnum Close dirty, derelict and overgrown.

SHOP owners overlooking a vacant piece of land on the Pinewood estate today called for action after branding the site opposite Laburnum Close dirty, derelict and overgrown.

But behind the scenes a long running struggle to build a "desperately needed" community centre on the patch of Ipswich land is reaching another stage.

Pinewood Parish Council is in the final stages of completing an application for lottery funding the £500,000 project.

It will be their fourth attempt at applying for funding following rejections by National Lottery money pots targeted at arts, sports and charities in what has turned into a more than 10 year saga of setbacks and disappointments.

"I really hope the money will come through this time," said chairman of the parish council Lorna Harding.

"They refused us on a very small matter the last time. We hope this time we will have done everything. We have dotted every i and crossed every t.

"We desperately need this community centre. There is nothing in this area. Chantry has its own community hall near the library but there is nothing for the people of Thorington, Pinewood and Brookwood."

The parish council has £100,000 saved for the project, Babergh District Council have earmarked £55,000 and an organisation called the Community Hall Association, made up of people who originally started work on the project more than ten years ago, also have a sum of money.

Plans are currently hanging on the forging of an agreement between Ipswich Borough Council, who own the land, and Pinewood Parish Council, over the lease of the land.

It is believed that the district is asking for £60,000 for a 120 year lease but the parish is unhappy about certain details in the leasing agreement and have been forced to call in solicitors to iron out differences.

Once the two parties have been reconciled an application can be sent to the Community Fund, formerly the National Lottery Charities Board, who are expected to take at least a couple of months before they come back with an answer.

Meanwhile, following inquiries about the state of the land by The Evening Star, Ipswich Borough Council has said they will look into tidying up the site.

Salon owner Donna Collett had complained: " The place is a mess. People use it as a dumping ground. I have seen an armchair, beer cans, black bags of rubbish, the lot.

"When you drive past it looks derelict until you look back beyond the trees but you can't see the shop from the road."

Ms Collett who owns Hair Ministry on Laburnum Close said that her customers regularly commented on the disgraceful state of the land.

"The general comments from everyone that lives in this area is that we need more amenities. We don't have a post office or a chemist or anything like that around here."

Mrs Harding added an appeal for people with expertise in making funding applications to come forward.

"We need people to get involved. The parish council are just made up of ordinary people who are trying to do their best for the parish."

If you would like to get involved the next meeting of Pinewood parish Council will be held on December 10 at the Baptist church on Shepherd Drive at 7.30pm


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