10 Jan 2017
The next stage towards the creation of a new school, leisure facility, health centre and more is about to go out to its latest stage of public consultation.
The Mildenhall Hub, which would be built in Sheldrick Way, could also house council offices for Forest Heath District and Suffolk County councils, emergency services, the town library, a pre-school and adult learning space, as well as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and the Department for Work and Pensions.
One element that no longer features in the scheme is 15-20 units of complementary housing which has been dropped following earlier public consultation.
A pre-application consultation will now take place from 10 January through to 5pm on Friday 10 February.
As part of this consultation, there will also be a public exhibition at Mildenhall College Academy’s Sixth Form (MCA6) in Sheldrick Way on Tuesday, 24 January from 4pm to 7.30pm.
Cllr James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council said: “The closure of the RAF Mildenhall base in around six years’ time is going to change the shape and feel of the town. People have said why not just wait until the closure and then use their facilities? It isn’t that simple.
“The town needs a new bigger and better school site now which the hub will deliver in partnership with Mildenhall College Academy.
“The town needs bigger and better swimming facilities now – without the hub, the town’s pool will have to close for work to be carried out and even then it won’t be big enough to suit the area’s needs.
“Without the hub, we will still have an old council building that is too big for modern day use, uneconomical and no longer fit for purpose.
“Without the hub, we will still need to invest millions of pounds into old buildings throughout the town just to keep them open without addressing the problem that they are no longer right for modern needs.
“Mildenhall and the surrounding villages need better facilities that are cheaper to run and will match the growing needs and aspirations of our area.
“The hub would bring schools, leisure, health, emergency services, and public services onto one site closer to the town centre for convenience of use. We already know that people use more than one public service when visiting our offices now. The hub would also benefit our residents by improving links between health and leisure services, between the school and the library and so on.
“So I would urge residents to take part in this pre-application consultation. This is not about whether we should or shouldn’t have a hub, it is about drawing out the issues that we will need to be addressed to make sure this great scheme works.”
Susan Byles, Principal at Mildenhall College Academy said: “The young people in and around Mildenhall deserve the very best education and learning environment. The proposed new building will provide up to 1,500 places for pupils, giving our already oversubscribed academy the extra capacity it needs. Being in the hub will provide strong connections with local businesses and services and we believe this will give our students the best opportunity to play a valuable role in their community, improve their wellbeing and raise aspirations. As an academy with a world class curriculum, delivering education in a world class facility will help us become a truly outstanding academy.”
Leader of Suffolk County Council, Cllr Colin Noble said: “The shared building space concept that the hub plans to offer, supports our continuing approach to working in partnership with districts and borough authorities across Suffolk in a collaborative way. It makes a lot more sense co-locating resources at reduced cost, rather than spending much more money maintaining old buildings that are no longer fit for purpose.”
You can take part online at www.mildenhallhub.info
Paper copies of the consultation are available at the council offices at College Heath Road, Mildenhall.