Work to build a multi-million pound new public services hub in Mildenhall – which will combine education, health and leisure facilities on one site – will begin this month.
Construction on the £39 million major national project to provide a bigger and better school, a new larger swimming pool, a health and children’s centre, and a public library will get underway on March 18th 2019.
The hub will also create a Citizens Advice centre as well as space for Suffolk police, West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council.
RG Carter was awarded the building contract earlier this year and the company has already carried out enabling works at the site including a sewer diversion.
The Mildenhall Hub is already recognised as a significant project in the government’s national One Public Estate Programme.
James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said: “This exciting and ambitious project is about delivering on our promise of better 21st-century facilities shaped for the people that we represent, not just in Mildenhall but the surrounding villages.
“It is about the need for a better school for children and grandchildren to learn in, and a better swimming pool and other leisure facilities integrated with a new health centre.
“It is also about the various partners working even more closely together and making it easier for people to access services rather than having to journey from one location to another.”
Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk and health secretary, said: “I’m delighted that construction of the Mildenhall Hub, recognised by the government as a major national project to bring education, leisure, health and local services together, will soon be underway.
“It represents a new and better way of delivering integrated accessible services for the community and I can’t wait to see the hub open and in use next year.”
Funding for the project is coming from Forest Heath District Council, the Department for Education, Suffolk County Council, Academy Transformation Trust, Sport England and Suffolk Constabulary.
Susan Byles, principal of Mildenhall College Academy, said: There are few academies in the country that are purposely designed and built to be at the very centre of a community hub.
“The opportunities that this will bring to the students of Mildenhall are both unique and plentiful. Not only will our students learn in a modern, purpose built academy building but they will also have access to other amazing facilities such as a swimming pool and leisure centre.”
Edward Thomas, estates director for the Academy Transformation Trust, said: “Mildenhall College Academy has suffered greatly from the poor condition of the buildings and facilities along with operating a split-site isolated from the town it serves.
“The development of the hub alongside support and funding from the Department for Education has provided Academy Transformation Trust with an opportunity to address these issues, bring all education provision to one site whilst providing state of the art facilities for the academy’s pupils and staff.”
Warren Smyth, chief executive of Abbeycroft Leisure, said: “We are very excited about the leisure provision which will ensure that everyone, regardless of their age, status, background or ability, will have the chance to take part in sport or physical activity, in an environment that is fit for purpose.”
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, said: “This major development is an excellent example of joint working in Suffolk, something I have always been committed to as police and crime commissioner.
“This collective approach not only provides much better value for money for the taxpayer but will benefit all the residents and businesses in the Forest Heath area of our county with improved service delivery through a joined-up approach to public service, which is just what’s required.”