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Green light for further funding to support Mid Suffolk communities

Posted by Communications on 4 October 2021 | Comments

Housing growth continues to help provide vital infrastructure across Mid Suffolk, with £118,000 allocated this week for community centre improvements and sports facilities in Debenham, Elmswell, Rickinghall and Framsden.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is collected from developers when they build new homes in Mid Suffolk. The funding helps to ensure that local infrastructure keeps pace with housing growth and also supports the council’s ongoing ambition for its communities to be attractive, successful and connected places for people to live and work.

Councillors considered bids from the latest CIL funding round at this morning’s Cabinet meeting, with unanimous agreement reached on proposals to contribute £59,994 towards improvements to Debenham Community Centre.

The centre is a versatile village venue – hosting drama, music and fitness classes, a range of other community activities and, more recently, being used to help in the Covid-19 vaccination effort.

CIL funding will help its much-needed planned refurbishment, with councillors giving the green light for funding to provide new natural lighting and improve insulation to meet modern environmental standards – reducing energy costs and supporting the council’s continued commitment to addressing climate change in Mid Suffolk.

It will also fund better ventilation for the centre, in recognition that this is vital in protecting service users from Covid-19 and other viruses.

Elmswell is another village to benefit from CIL funding. An allocation of £19,500will go towards providing roof lights and blackout blinds to improve ventilation in Chamberlayne Hall at Blackbourne Community Centre, which seats up to 150 people and is used by community groups across Mid Suffolk.

The improved system will provide confidence to users that the venue is Covid secure, even in winter months, and reduce energy requirements and maintenance costs.

Improvements are also set to be made to infrastructure in Rickinghall, with CIL funding of £20,148 towards the provision of an all wheel sports area given the go-ahead today.

This will allow the replacement of the existing wheeled sports facility with enhanced equipment, including a redesigned skating ramp, to better suit the needs of service users. 

Once completed, the area will be able to accommodate scooters, skateboarders, in-line skaters and BMXs – meeting the council’s ambition for families to lead active and healthy lives, as set out in its recent Wellbeing Strategy.

Funding for the provision of play equipment in Framsden will also support this aim, after councillors approved £18,789 to help finance a new play swing, slide, climbing frame, roundabout and basketball and football goal area.

The project also includes a new entrance gate – securing improved access for pushchair and wheelchair users and supporting the council’s vision for inclusive places and spaces for its residents.

Cllr David Burn, Mid Suffolk cabinet member for Planning said:

“I am delighted that this latest round of CIL funding will benefit a range of local projects and provide the facilities needed to help keep pace with future growth.

“It’s great news that two of the bids are set to reduce carbon emissions – protecting our local environment and supporting our council’s ongoing ambition to address climate change as we all work towards a greener Suffolk.

“A bright and healthy future for our residents will also be made possible by today’s allocation of almost £40,000 towards new sports and play equipment in our district – cementing our commitment to ensuring that everyone in Mid Suffolk has the best conditions for wellbeing.”

District CIL is income retained by the district council to spend on infrastructure to support development. This money must be applied for and the decision to spend significant amounts has to be taken by Cabinet.

The latest CIL round is currently open for bids and further information on this and how CIL works can be found on the council’s website, with details about how the levy has been allocated available on the council’s award-winning Developer Contributions Database.