Mid Suffolk communities to benefit from £227,000 funding boost
Housing growth in Mid Suffolk will fund a range of local projects – including railway station improvements, electrical vehicle charging points and new community facilities – following agreement by councillors this week.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is collected from developers when they build new homes in the district, ensuring local infrastructure keeps pace with housing growth – and supports the council’s vision for communities with bright and healthy futures.
Mid Suffolk District Council considered bids from the latest CIL funding round at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, with Councillors agreeing to fully fund a £100,000 feasibility study for improvements to Thurston Railway Station. The study’s findings will be used by the project delivery group – a partnership between rail representatives, Thurston Parish Council, Suffolk Highways and council officers – to upgrade current sustainable transport links, meeting demand from recent housing growth in the village.
With funding of over £10,000 approved, work can also begin on installing new electrical vehicle charging points in Stowmarket – meeting the council’s commitment to protect the local environment from the effects of climate change. Charging points, mirroring existing installations at Needham Market and Eye, will be located in the heart of the town – ensuring the whole community benefits from greener travel options.
The project complements recent local investment, with the nearby Regal Theatre benefiting from £3.6m for significant improvement works as part of a wider vision for Stowmarket, which sees Mid Suffolk District Council working with partners to aid the economic recovery and growth of this key market town.
CIL contributions will also be used to support growth in Debenham, following the approval of £47,000 towards a new car park to the rear of the village’s leisure centre. The additional parking will be made available to multiple users, such as community groups and Debenham High School parents – addressing an important need to future proof against growing demand from new residents identified in the village’s Neighbourhood Plan.
Another bid given the green light was £34,000 to fund the conversion of The Granary in Wingfield for use as a children’s nursery. An additional £15,598 in grants has been contributed by the council, whilst Wingfield Barns CIC have also pledged £10,000 to fund the project.
Also successful in this spending round was the town of Eye, set to receive almost £32,000 towards much-needed improvements to Moors Lane children’s play area. Funding will enable the replacement of outdated equipment, following consultation with local residents to ensure that the new play area best meets community needs. This is in addition to a contribution of £4,534 for a new play area in Bedfield, approved under delegated powers earlier this year. Works have already begun on the project, which encourages outdoor play – further aiding the council’s ambition for active communities.
Cllr David Burn, Mid Suffolk District Council Cabinet Member for Planning said:
“This latest round of funding demonstrates how CIL monies continue to make a real difference in Mid Suffolk - ensuring housing growth builds not just homes, but communities with bright and healthy futures.
“These contributions will deliver the facilities needed for our residents to thrive both now and in years to come. They will also pave the way for further sustainable transport options, supporting our council’s blueprint for climate change, as we all work towards a greener Suffolk.”
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 amounts above a certain level has to be taken by Cabinet.
Further information about how the CIL works can be found on the councils website, with details about how the levy has been allocated available on the councils’ award-winning Developer Contributions Database.
Comments by ward councillors:
Cllr Kathie Guthrie (Conservative)
“As District councillor I fully supported Debenham Leisure Centre’s application for this funding for the car park improvements. Parking is a problem in many of our villages and the DLC has a large following from a wider area to use their facilities and football pitch. Car transport is the main way people are able to get there and with newer updated facilities it is hoped the initiative by the trustees of the DLC will pay dividends with even more usage.”
Cllr Harry Richardson (Conservative)
"This funding represents an important step forward in delivering much-needed investment in infrastructure in Thurston. Improving access to public transport will help the village to accommodate it's significant housing growth, whilst working towards Mid Suffolk's target to be carbon neutral by 2030."
Cllr Wendy Turner (Green)
“Developers and planners have justified the expansion of Thurston now taking place by its sustainable transport links notably the rail station cycle route and some bus services. This has highlighted the poor access and safety at the station and I welcome initial steps towards improving that, while continuing to oppose further developments.”