Latest CIL funding includes support for rail study and national gallery
More than £420,000 in developer contributions is to be ploughed back into communities – funding a study into Thurston railway station, the renovation of Gainsborough’s House, and improved play equipment and bus facilities for villages.
Cabinet members for Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils met today to agree the latest round of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding. The levy is a legal requirement paid by developers of residential sites in the district. Every six months, the councils consider the bids made for CIL funding, earmarked for projects to help local infrastructure keep pace with development.
This latest allocation is the ninth round of CIL funding and brings the total allocation delivered to the districts to more than £11m since May 2018.
Today’s awards include £100,000 of CIL funding toward a feasibility study into possible improvements at Thurston’s railway station.
As a growing village with recently completed housing developments – and more to be built – Thurston’s current train station is undergoing a study to establish if several elements could be changed or added, including further crossing options and safer access to the train platform.
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said:
“Thurston train station is an important asset for the village and forms part of the crucial Ipswich-Bury St Edmunds line across the heart of Suffolk.
“The funding will allow us to investigate options for closing the level crossing at the station and replacing it with a safer, more accessible alternative.”
Receiving the largest sum of money in today’s awards, Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury will be supported with more than £152,500 to continue its ongoing renovation as a key part of the Sudbury Vision.
Two of Britain’s greatest landscape artists, Gainsborough and Constable, hail from Suffolk, and the historic house is set to fulfil the role of a national gallery for the painters – featuring new galleries, internationally significant art collections, a panoramic studio, learning spaces and café.
Closed to the public as work got underway in 2019, the £10m Gainsborough’s House project has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic but will now reopen to all in November.
Mark Bills, Director of Gainsborough’s House said:
“Three years of building works in the face of unprecedented circumstances have brought this vision to life. I’d like to thank the public for their thoughts, support and donations, together with every trust, fund and agency that has helped make this gallery a reality. In particular, I would like to thank Babergh District Council, without whose support the project could not have happened.”
Further awards were made of £100,000 to the children’s play area at Capel St Mary; £25,000 to bus shelter provision in Cockfield; £20,500 to a play area at Ringshall;
almost £10,000 for improvement to Botesdale Recreation Ground; £5,700 to Case Lane Playing Field, Bentley; and £5,400 to CCTV provision at Kingfisher Leisure Centre in Sudbury. (See further detail and reaction from local ward councillors to all awards below).
Babergh cabinet member for planning Cllr Clive Arthey said:
“Communities are understandably concerned about local facilities keeping pace with development, so we work with a wide variety of organisations and partners through the CIL process including transport partners, healthcare providers, community groups, towns and parishes to ensure this funding can be used in the best way to meet local need.
“Whether it’s a £150,000 award for a national gallery or £2,000 for a community bus parking area – every award makes a difference to its local community.”
Mid Suffolk cabinet member for planning Cllr David Burn said:
“We have to meet the demand for homes, but we also want to ensure that our communities can thrive as attractive, successful and connected places for people to live and work. I’m delighted to see this round of CIL funding being used to support potential rail improvements at Thurston as well as improving quality of life and wellbeing in our villages through improvements to play areas and recreation grounds."
The ongoing renovation of Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury - £152,504
The historic house is set to become a national gallery for local artists Gainsborough and Constable – featuring new galleries, internationally significant art collections, a panoramic studio, learning spaces and a café.
Cllr Jan Osborne, Cabinet Member for Housing and ward councillor for Sudbury North West, said:
“Gainsborough’s House is a site of truly national significance. Suffolk’s beautiful art and rich history being displayed in its homeland is fantastic for Sudbury and the county as a whole. I’m delighted to see the project so close to completion and cannot wait to see the reaction of our town when the doors to the gallery are opened.”
Feasibility study at Thurston railway station - £100,000
Thurston’s current train is undergoing a study to establish if several elements could be changed or added, including further crossing options and safer access to the train platform.
The station sees a mix of services; some passenger trains stop, while others pass through at high speed. Freight trains also regularly pass through the station at high speed.
Network Rail’s Ellie Borrows reminded level crossing users to check the red and green lights at the crossing and only cross when the green light is showing. The lights can change at any time, so they should always look at the lights themselves to make sure it is safe to cross and not just follow the person in front of them.
Cllr Harry Richardson, Deputy Leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Thurston ward councillor, said:
“Thurston is a thriving village, and this feasibility study is a testament to its bright future. It is vitally important this infrastructure is for the benefit of residents, travelling by rail or road across Suffolk or simply to our high street.
“Network Rail, our partners in Suffolk Highways, and councillors and officers at the parish, district and county level, have all worked incredibly hard to produce the results of this study so far. This CIL funding will guarantee this work is completed to the highest standard, for the benefit of Thurston and Suffolk as a whole.”
Cllr Austin Davies, fellow Thurston councillor, said:
“While I am disappointed that this study has taken over two years for Network Rail to produce, I’m pleased to see the importance of a safely accessible platform for our station highlighted, as well as consideration for those travelling on foot or by bike. Residents and businesses must be able to make positive choices about travel options, both for their health and the environment. Network Rail should use their profits to fully fund this project.”
Children’s Play Area, Capel St Mary - £100,000
There is £100,000 in CIL funding for upgrades to Capel St Mary’s playground equipment and the expansion of their car park.
This project, which the applicants have described as ‘oven ready’, will add additional leisure and community facilities to the village, which is currently home to about 3,000 people and the site of new housing developments.
Cllr Sue Carpendale, ward councillor for Capel St Mary, said:
“These plans are a huge upgrade for our ward. I’m pleased this CIL bid has been successful and that the funding will make a real, tangible difference in the lives of those in our community. The work of the parish council and the Capel St Mary Community Trust has been crucial in securing funding for this project, and I’d like to thank them for their hard work.”
Chris Whitley for the Capel St Mary Community Trust added:
“Our children, young people and families all deserve a place they are proud to call home, and this CIL funding will help us continue to build that. Our thanks to Cllr Carpendale for her support – we are excited to see this new play area take shape.”
Bus Shelter Provision, Cockfield - £25,028.08
One of Cockfield’s bus shelters will be replaced thanks to this latest round of CIL funding.
Cockfield lies on the 753 and 754 rounds between Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds, with more than a dozen return services running through the village everyday Monday-Saturday. One of its westbound bus stops, built and donated to the parish council 25 years ago, has since fallen into disrepair and will be replaced with a new, modern bus stop thanks to the £25,000 sum approved by Babergh District Council’s Cabinet.
Cllr Clive Arthey, Deputy Leader, Cabinet Member for Planning and ward councillor for Lavenham, said:
“The district council is a crucial part of the network keeping public transport safe and accessible across our county. Cockfield has seen new housing development in recent years such as Jeffreys Green, and residents are right to expect that bus links in their village will be maintained.”
Cllr Margaret Maybury, ward councillor for Lavenham, said:
“As a district, we wish to see a variety of bright, healthy and forward-thinking communities. A project such as this new accessible bus shelter will bring to the local community of Cockfield a chance for all to use sustainable public transport to reach activities, societies, education, medical facilities as well as shops outside of the parish boundaries. Accessibility is the key to our district community wellbeing.”
Play Area, Ringshall - £20,566.35
Receiving just over £20,000 is a proposal for a new play area in the village of Ringshall. Widely supported by the community and partly funded by CIL, this new facility has also been supported by Ringshall Parish Council, a community grant from Mid Suffolk District Council fundraising events and donations.
Cllr Dr Daniel Pratt, councillor for Battisford & Ringshall, said: “
“The community in Ringshall is committed to making a village people are proud of. This play area will benefit a number of children and parents living in the community and visiting to use the school and facilities. It is the culmination of hundreds of hours of work from volunteers and parish councillors, so I’m very glad to see this project included in the latest round of CIL funding bids.”
A Ringshall Parish Council spokesperson added:
“We are delighted this funding has been approved for our village. Our Play Area working group have worked extremely hard alongside the Parish Council, from the initial consultation stage right through to pulling together the funds required from different grants. The project would not have been possible without the support of our community, from participating enthusiastically in the consultation process to assisting in fundraising efforts.”
Recreation Ground Entrance and Picnic Tables, Botesdale - £9,757.50
The regeneration of Botesdale Recreation Ground will also receive CIL funding after almost £10,000 was approved for the project. Botesdale Parish Council supported the remaining cost of the project, providing another £3,252.
The recreation ground’s improvements will mean new facilities can be provided to the whole community, contributing to the improvement of health and wellbeing in the village. This funding will contribute to an improved entrance and new picnic tables, with the broader project including new play equipment for a range of ages, fitness equipment, quiet seating areas and paths winding through ecological features, as well as new disability parking spaces for easier access.
Jessica Fleming, Mid Suffolk Cabinet Member of Environment and ward councillor for Rickinghall, said:
“I have fully supported the work of the parish council in Botesdale since the formation of this project’s sub-committee, and I am sure the community will benefit hugely from this newly imagined recreational space. A lot of care has been taken to balance the different needs of the community with integrating the ecology in our ward, and the result is this brilliant new resource.”
A spokesperson for Botesdale Parish Council added:
“This funding means we can realise the exciting plans we have commissioned for a recreational space that will benefit the whole Botesdale community. The project has been underway since early 2019 – we believe our new facilities will be worth the wait. We’d like to thank Cllr Fleming and everyone who helped us reach this stage for their support.”
Case Lane Playing Field, Bentley - £5,706.00
New facilities for all ages are to be installed at Bentley’s playing field following the approval of their CIL bid.
Bentley Parish Council conducted a public consultation which identified a lack of equipment for a wide range of young adults. This CIL funding will be used to purchase new outdoor gym equipment for children and adults of all ages, which will go into a new area of the playing field park. This will be further supported by other projects on the field to improve drainage and provide a suitable surface for the equipment to be based on.
Cllr David Busby, Cabinet Member for Finance, Assets and Investments at Babergh District Council and ward councillor for Copdock and Washbrook, said:
“Pieces of gym equipment such as those being funded by this CIL bid are a fantastic resource for any community. They will make an excellent addition to the overall project to improve the playing field and I look forward to seeing it completed.”
A Bentley Parish Council spokesperson added:
“Bentley is a thriving village, surrounded by beautiful country walking routes and many opportunities to stay active. This new equipment and the associated improvements mean we’ll have the resources in our village to enable residents to get active here as well.”
Improving CCTV provision, Sudbury - £5,416.21
This latest investment in CCTV at the Kingfisher Leisure Centre is in addition to the town’s existing CCTV system. The bid emphasised the importance of preventing and detecting crime to make Sudbury safer for residents. The extra money focuses on the area of the town around the centre, further contributing to the detection and deterrence of crime in town.
Cllr Sue Ayres, ward councillor for Sudbury South West, said:
“This additional CCTV puts the safety of our customers, who want to lead healthy lives using our leisure centres, and residents who want to be proud of their communities, first. It all contributes to making a brighter, vibrant Sudbury where residents and visitors feel comfortable in our town.”
Tracey Loynds, Operations Director at Abbeycroft Leisure said:
“Our team work incredibly hard to make each of our leisure centres safe and welcoming. We are grateful for this CIL funding to expand our CCTV provision and we hope this goes another step towards creating an even safer environment at Kingfisher Leisure Centre.”
Community Bus Parking Area, Sudbury - £2,024.72
Approved under delegated powers before the cabinet meeting was the CIL bid for parking spaces suitable for larger minibuses for Go Start Community Transport, which provides accessible transport for pensioners, people with disabilities, school children, other voluntary bodies, charities and registered not-for-profit organisations.
The larger parking spaces on the Alexander Road Industrial Estate in Sudbury have been secured on previously unused council land.
A Go Start Community Transport spokesperson said:
"GoStart passengers and volunteers are very pleased to acknowledge with thanks the support of Babergh District Council, in particular with the arrangements for parking of our vehicles but also in other ways that support has been provided over the last few years.”