Community's dream is finally realised

A 15-YEAR dream of creating a community hub has been realised today after a parish's residents group took out a loan to pay for a new centre.

A 15-YEAR dream of creating a community hub has been realised today after a parish's residents group took out a loan to pay for a new centre.

The endeavour and determination of the Pinewood Community Hall Association, combined with the efforts of the parish council, means there will soon be a focal point on the estate.

The association was formed in 1992 in a small shed left by builders, but since then they have raised thousands of pounds and worked tirelessly to secure funding.

A key element to the success of the project was the award of a loan, which will be paid back over the next half century, costing council tax payers just a few pence a year.

Ipswich Borough Council's executive rubber stamped the development when it agreed to lease the land in Laburnum Close, allowing work to begin within days.

The total cost of the project is estimated at £860,000, not including the value of the lease.

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Sandra Peartree, Pinewood Parish Council clerk, said: “It's been an uphill struggle and a long and difficult process to get where we are today, but we've achieved what we set out to achieve and we've got there in the end.

“The area desperately needs some community facilities. There isn't anywhere in the parish you can hold a child's birthday party or where people can meet.

“It will be lovely. It will be nice to have a focus in the parish.”

The building has a large hall big enough for sporting activities, wedding receptions, dances, children's parties, and club meetings.

There is also a smaller meeting room, a good-sized kitchen and a bar area with seating for around 30 people.

Lorna Harding, Parish Council chairman, said: “We're really thrilled. We're hoping that it will bring the community together.

“We're hoping it will integrate us with our neighbours in Sprites ward when they come to use the community centre.”

Pinewood Parish Council was established in 1984 and has been working towards building a community centre ever since.

Tim Mutum, from Babergh District Council, added: “They've gone from nothing to now being able to buy their own community centre.

“The fact that they've been able to put this all together is a great achievement.”

Are you a resident of Pinewood looking forward to the new community centre? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

The £860,000 for the hall has been raised by the people of Pinewood through the Parish Council and the Pinewood and District Community Hall Association, including a grant from Babergh District Council for £40,000.

Now the final piece of the jigsaw has been added in the form of the lease of the land at a peppercorn rent, granted by Ipswich Borough Council.

The Parish Council, following consultation with its residents last summer and approval from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, completed the funding with a low interest loan from the Public Works Loan Board which will be repaid over the next 50 years.

The centre will cost each resident a few pence in council tax as the loan is paid back but community groups will be able to book the centre at a low rate.

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