Cash injection for local community projects 

More than £510,000 is set to be reinvested into Babergh and Mid Suffolk communities thanks to funding collected from developers.

Yesterday, cabinet members at Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils voted to approve the latest round of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) bids which includes projects such as play areas upgrades, creation of walking paths and installation of solar panels. 

CIL payments, which are a legal requirement paid by developers of residential sites across the districts, will fund nine successful bids for community projects.

Bids made for CIL funding are reviewed by the councils every six months and funding is earmarked for those projects that help enable local infrastructure to grow alongside housing developments.

Since May 2018, Babergh and Mid Suffolk have issued 12 rounds of CIL funding totalling more than £14m, all of which has been provided to infrastructure projects across the districts. 

Among the successful bids are major works to the toilet block at Belle Vue Park in Sudbury which, once completed, will include brand new accessible changing places toilets, £100,000 to modernise an existing footpath to future proof it for generations to come and upgrades to both a play area and village hall. 

Councillor Andrew Stringer, cabinet member for heritage, planning and infrastructure for Mid Suffolk District Council, said:

“It comes as no surprise that as housing grows, so does the pressure on local facilities and it becomes increasingly important to ensure that the local infrastructure can keep up with an increasing demand.
It is through funding streams such as CIL, that we are able to lend a helping hand to our communities and provide facilities where they are needed the most.” 

Councillor Sallie Davies, cabinet member for planning at Babergh District Council, said:

“It is great to see the next round of CIL bids approved by councillors at Babergh District Council.    
Thanks to this funding, our communities can put in place vital facilities and ensure that the infrastructure is able to grow at the same pace as housing.  
I welcome all of the funding bids.  I also look forward to more communities coming to us with great ideas and bringing them to life with CIL funding. “

Here is the full list of awards approved by councillors: 

Belle Vue Toilets/Changing Places Facility and improvements to car park/walls in Sudbury - £240,570.00 
Funding for this project will enable the creation of a brand new toilet and changing places facility. This will also include the ground works for the toilets, drainage and electrical provision for the toilets, works to a nearby wall and the re-cambering of the car park. 

Councillor Laura Smith, ward councillor for Sudbury South West, said: “I am delighted that Babergh District Council is giving the go ahead for funding these improvements – they will benefit the local community and encourage visits to the area. 

“Park users of all ages will benefit from the new toilets, especially those needing enhanced changing facilities. I look forward to using the café and attending the events which will happening in the park. Hopefully this is the start of the changes to Belle Vue Park that people in Sudbury have been waiting for.”

Thornham Walks Pioneering Paths - £100,000.00
This project is being proposed by Friends of Thornham Walks and seeks to modernise an existing tarmac surfaced footpath pavement, by its significant upgrade including covering it with the next generation of walking surface which is safer and conducive to increased levels of walking for visitors, whilst boasting many green credentials. 

Councillor Rowland Warboys, ward member for Gislingham, said: “I had great pleasure supporting this application. It is important not to underestimate the health benefits of being immersed in mature woodlands and open countryside. 
“This 1,207-metre footpath provides year-round access for everyone, of all ages and especially wheelchair users. Thornham Walks has become a well-known rural destination attracting people of all ages to its onsite café, art gallery, children’s playground and above all, the opportunity to ramble over 12 miles of miles of footpaths that explore the woodlands, parkland and working farmland that make up the Historic Thornham Estate.”  

Cordell Place Play Area in Long Melford – £97,437.31
The project entails an upgrade and additional equipment to widen the age range and abilities which the Cordell Place play area caters for, including team play.  
This project will involve the removal of the existing equipment and creating an inclusive and accessible area (which will include sensory play equipment), create a safe enclosed area for the under 5s and include provision of equipment for team games (five-a-side goals).  
In addition to this, a path will be created to provide entry to the accessible and under 5s area enabling wheelchairs users and pushchairs to easily navigate the play area. 

Solar Panels project in Walsham-le-Willows - £21.337.68
This project will enable Walsham Le Willows Memorial Hall Charity to update the hall roof with a solar photovoltaic system including onsite battery storage.  These improvements will reduce the building’s own energy efficiency, enable the building to maintain a comfortable environment for Hall users and the Hall will be able to generate its own electrical power and reduce it running costs. 

Councillor Richard Winch, ward member for Walsham-le-Willows, said: “I am pleased to see Walsham Le Willows Memorial Hall taking the initiative and installing solar panels and a battery system. 
“The Hall will be able to generate its own electrical power and reduce the running costs. It’s a model that will be relevant to a lot of other village halls.”

Crowfield Village Hall - £27,282.15
Proposals to install a new multi-use games area where the current basketball court is located at the back of the Village Hall.  The current basketball court is under-used due to its limited usage and poor state of repair.   

Councillors Nicholas Hardingham, ward member for Stonham, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Mid Suffolk District Council have been able to help Crowfield with this substantial CIL award, and to have been able to contribute myself from my locality budget. 
“The new multi-use games area will make a big contribution to outdoor activities for young people and to community life in the village.”

Here is the full list of awards which were noted by councillors: 

Swimming Pool Changing Places Toilet in Stradbroke - £9,990.00

This project will see a Changing Places Facility built within the Stradbroke Leisure Centre, refurbishing the current accessible toilet and works to make the changing room into an improved equipped facility.

Councillor Anders Linder, ward member for Stradbroke and Laxfield, said: “Aiming for encouraging more people to use the swimming pool, both young and old, it is essential not to present users with off putting, run-down facilities. 
“Most of all, we need to ensure that children learn to swim, too many tragical drowning incidents take place.”

Playground Project Stage 2 in Badwell Ash - £8,502.40
This project is for additional equipment which will widen the age range and abilities that the play area can cater for. This includes four new pieces of adult exercise equipment, one table tennis table and one basketball hoop/stand.

Councillor Richard Winch, ward member for Walsham-le-Willows, said: “I am fully supportive of the improvements that are being made to the children’s play area in Badwell Ash with the addition of new outdoor fitness equipment. This is another stage of an exciting overall plan for enhancing sports facilities in the village.”

Energy efficiency project in Stradbroke - £7,684.00
This CIL bid is linked to another CIL bid and is part of a larger scheme for improvement to the health centre and includes new solar panels, roof lighting and upgrading of the current heating system.

Councillor Anders Linder, ward member for Stradbroke and Laxfield, said: “The energy project including solar panels is well known to me, this will improve energy efficiency and also save money.”

Merriam Close Play Area Upgrade in Brantham - £3,833.47
This project is the upgrade to the play area at Marriam Close and installation of additional play equipment to widen the age range and abilities which this play area caters for

Councillor Alastair McCraw, ward member for Brantham, said: “CIL is a useful route to funding for communities from developer money. I’m always happy to support local bids here and elsewhere.’’

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils logo on blue background