The Mix in Stowmarket overcomes final hurdle to completion
After a lengthy planning application process, Suffolk County Council’s proposal to complete The Mix, a £5.5m purpose built youth facility in Stowmarket, has been given the final go-ahead.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government approved the demolition of the dilapidated house on Ipswich Street and endorsed plans to replace it with a modern building, which young people have helped to design.
This means that The Mix building project can now be completed and that the facility will be fully operational by January 2014.
Although building works started in 2011 and the council was hoping that the project would be completed in March this year, the construction scheme was dealt a significant blow last year when it was discovered that the Victorian building at the front of the site, which was originally earmarked to be refurbished, had serious structural defects and could not be repaired in an economically viable way.
As the building falls in a conservation area, consent to demolish it had to be sought from the government.
In response to the planning consent, Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and young people, said “There is strong local support in Stowmarket for this scheme and I am delighted that we are now well on our way to completing this landmark facility for young people.
“It has always been a youth-led project and pretty well unique in Suffolk.
“Completing the building’s facade will enable us to reinforce the purpose of the premises in a sympathetic and appropriate design, as well as maximising the space available within the building.”
Before the plans were presented to the Secretary of State, they were recommended for approval by the county council, district council and town council.
In reaching his decision to grant permission for the existing Victorian building to be demolished, The Secretary of State considered the proposal against National Planning Policy
Framework policies, particularly on the need to weigh the harm of losing a heritage asset against the public benefits of the proposal.
Although he recognised that the existing building makes a positive contribution to the conservation area, he was persuaded by the Council’s argument that it would not be financially viable to retain the existing building and concluded that the new building has the potential to provide an important community facility.
In his conclusion he stated that he was “satisfied that the loss is outweighed by the public benefit of bringing the site back into use”.
While the building of The Mix is being completed, The Mix Trust, which will be taking on the management of the facility from Suffolk County Council, is working from alternative locations in Stowmarket, notably the former youth club in Childer Road, to run activities and get young people ready to move into The Mix.
John Shaw, chair of the trust and Stowmarket resident said, “We are sorry that young people will have to wait another year before The Mix is fully up and running, but we are sure it will be worth the wait.
“The Mix is a fantastic facility that the whole community will be proud of when it is finally completed.”
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (January 24) Echo.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Haverhill
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North east