Days are numbered for pensioners' centre
DEMOLITION of a much-loved and well-used senior citizens' day centre could happen within months if approval is given for a new modern replacement.Planners will next Thursday decide the scheme for Felixstowe Town Council's community hall – and are being recommended by officers to give the project the go-ahead.
DEMOLITION of a much-loved and well-used senior citizens' day centre could happen within months if approval is given for a new modern replacement.
Planners will next Thursday decide the scheme for Felixstowe Town Council's community hall – and are being recommended by officers to give the project the go-ahead.
Despite some sadness at the loss of the last of a series of wooden buildings brought to the resort early in the last century – others have been destroyed by fire – people are in favour of the scheme.
It will see the day centre replaced with a new one with modern facilities for the elderly, plus four flats on two floors above to provide some desperately-needed social housing in the town centre for couples and single people.
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The town council has drawn up the scheme for the centre in Orwell Road in conjunction with the Orwell Housing Association.
Town clerk Susan Robinson has said the current day centre has reached the end of its life and a lot of expensive structural repairs are needed.
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"We have got to the stage where a huge amount of money needs to be spent and if the repairs were done we would almost certainly be faced with doing more expensive work on it in a few years' time," said Mrs Robinson.
"Councillors decided this was a situation which could be turned into an opportunity to provide a new building of high quality for the future for our older residents along with social housing, which it is very difficult to provide in the town centre.
"The new centre will be the same size but will be updated with modern facilities which can be used by the wider community, including groups and clubs, outside the day centre's hours, such as evenings and weekends."
The centre only has one upstairs room, which it has not been possible to use in recent times for public safety reasons. Along with its structural problems, the building also does not meet the requirements of new legislation for the disabled.
In a report to councillors, planning officers say: "The existing building on the site is an unusual but attractive building within the streetscene. Although its demolition is unfortunate, it is accepted that due to its poor structural condition it is inevitable."
The proposed centre was of an attractive design with interesting features and would not be out of place in the conservation area.
The town council's biggest problem is its wish to continue to run a day centre while the new building is constructed – and is searching for alternative temporary premises.
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