Visitor centre will go ahead

AN AMBITIOUS visitor and education centre at one of Suffolk's most popular tourist spots will be built - despite losing its funding.

AN AMBITIOUS visitor and education centre at one of Suffolk's most popular tourist spots will be built - despite losing its funding.

That was the message today from Mid Suffolk Council's leader after proposals for the centre at Needham Lake were dropped from his administration's budget

There have long been calls for the new centre at the beauty spot which would tell visitors about local wildlife and history and a tea room with local produce on sale.

The Conservative/Independent run Mid Suffolk District Council had allocated about £40,000 in its capital investment programme for the scheme, but has been unable to continue carrying the unspent money over for more than two years because of Government accounting rules to prevent funds simply sitting dormant for too long.

But Tories say that while finances are always under pressure, plans are still being drawn up for the scheme and that when land within the community are redeveloped money given to the authority as part of planning permissions could then be used to build the centre at a future date.

Tim Passmore, the administration's Conservative leader, said: “The money we have rolled over for two years cannot be used, but this has not been dropped at all and we will look to contributions from developers when they go through the planning process.

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“A visitor centre could provide an educational role and a high quality tea shop with local produce and there is no intention to scrap this completely.

“Money is always tight, but once we have agreed to do something we do our best to deliver it. There is nothing to say this cannot be resurrected in the future.”

The lake is home to Tench, Roach, Perch, Carp, Bream, Chub and Pike and ducklings that paddle across the water and which families love to feed.

There are marsh plants and reeds which provide shelter for water fowl and where Reed Warblers are known to nest and the beauty spot has a play area and has been the focus for numerous arts workshops and summer festivals through the years.