Petition to save Caribbean Centre

A ROW over the future of Ipswich's Caribbean Centre has escalated with the launch of a petition aimed at allowing the group which runs it to keep its town centre base.

A ROW over the future of Ipswich's Caribbean Centre has escalated with the launch of a petition aimed at allowing the group which runs it to keep its town centre base.

However Ipswich Borough Council today insisted it had no intention of spending £800,000 to repair an ageing building worth only £700,000.

The future of the Woodbridge Road home of the Ipswich Caribbean Association has been in doubt for the past two years after the extent of the repair bill for the centre became apparent.

Ipswich Borough Council has been in negotiations with the association in a bid to find a replacement centre but nothing appropriate in the town centre has been found.


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The council now wants the association to join other community groups in using the soon-to-be-opened community centre in the old St Lawrence's Church while using the Corn Exchange for larger events.

However the Caribbean Association, which receives a £55,000 grant from the borough each year, is understood to be unhappy with that move.

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A petition is now being circulated but Ipswich Borough Council insists it cannot change the fact the building has a limited life.

Richard Atkins, the borough councillor responsible for planning and economic development, said: “We can't afford to repair that building, it's in excess of £800,000.

“Nobody wanted to evict them. The best part of two years ago the suggestion was they and we should start looking for an alternative.”

The borough council has indicated it would prefer to see the Woodbridge Road site developed for housing rather than commercial or retail purposes in the future. It says about 30 apartments could be built on the site.

No one from the Caribbean association was available for comment today.

Do you want the Ipswich Caribbean Association to keep its home or do you think it should move? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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