Brandon £1.5m hub project at former Forest School
PUBLISHED: 10:07 17 February 2012
Plans to bring together police, library services and education under one roof have been proposed as part of a new £1.5m community hub.
The former Forest School in Brandon, off Market Hill, could house the town’s Safer Neighbourhood Team, a children’s centre and library as part of a bid to improve services in the town.
The scheme would be funded by Suffolk County Council and when complete handed over to be run locally.
A spokesman for the council said: “We attended a Brandon Town Council meeting this week to discuss proposals to refurbish the old school and bring together a number of community services under one roof.
“The county council is committed to the idea of creating a sustainable community hub in the town and will be working with the town council and other partners to develop the proposals.”
The site had last year been incorporated into plans to create a £6.5m healthy living centre which would have included the town’s two doctor’s practices, midwives, nurses and health visitors as well as a library, café, toilets and pharmacy, a hall and meeting rooms, and the police, town council, West Suffolk College and the citizen’s advice bureau.
Suffolk County Council however was forced to withdraw funding because of the economic climate but a small amount of funding remained for a more moderate project.
The new plans were presented at a meeting of Brandon Town Council, which is located next to the site and could be incorporated into the scheme, last week. Feb6
Town clerk Christine Mason said: “I think once things start happening the tone of Brandon will change - it’s all so positive.
“I think Brandon is being put back on the map. The architects have now come back and we’ve got a general idea of how the building could be used and how it could work. “To me it’s such an obvious solution - you’ve got the library over there and the play group here and the children’s centre somewhere else so it will be all under one roof.”
The initial idea to revamp the former school emerged from a questionnaire distributed through Brandon around a decade ago which asked whether residents would like improved heath services.