Hall plans could be revived

COUNCILLORS have agreed to search for £500,000 in grants and other aid to expand the Stevenson Centre in Great Cornard, described as the best venue for people with disabilities.

Great Cornard Parish Council heard that the community hall off Broom Street, available for hire for a range of activities and private functions, is already struggling to cope with demand.

Council manager Michael Fitt said: “If you wanted to start another regular class, the centre would be hard pressed to start the group. There is a demand for it.”

Plans were drawn up to extend the centre in 2002 at a cost of between £250,000 and £300,000, but were never passed.

Policy and resources committee chairman Tony Bavington said the expansion plans would cost around £500,000 today.

It would give more room hire and storage space and could help other disability groups make use of the centre in the future.

It is currently used by Dash (the Disabled and Self-Help Group) and Success After Stroke.

The committee agreed that the Stevenson Centre had a reputation for providing the best facilities for disabled people in the district because the whole building was on one level, and there were good parking facilities so people did not have to park and walk far.

“We have the plans already and, as such, there would be no need to start from scratch if the decision was taken to add more space to the centre in future,” said Mr Bavington.

He added that part of the council manager’s job would entail identifying further sources of funding for the council, such as capital grants and other income opportunities.

Mr Bavington asked for a report on possible opportunities on funding the expansion of the centre to be submitted for the September parish council meeting.