New lease of life for Haverhill community centre
A community centre in Haverhill is in for a new lease of life having been taken on by a local group.
The Chalkstone Community Centre in Millfields Way was transferred, as of Wednesday, May 6, from St Edmundsbury Borough Council to the River of Life Community Church.
The group intends to take on the running of the community centre and will continue to offer the building’s services to the groups, such as REACH and the Befriending Scheme, that use the centre.
Mayor, Roger André, said: “The town council is satisfied the River of Life will make sure the centre is properly maintained and will look after the building themselves.
“They’re not going to make it into a church, people should be reassured about that.”
Despite the positivity greeting the church’s takeover, however, there has been concern expressed at the way the deal was reached.
Haverhill councillor, Tony Brown, welcomed the River of Life Community Church but questioned the was the transfer had taken place, one day before a general election.
“I’m appalled,” he said. “I asked for the decision to be deferred until after the election. They never came back to me.
“It seems it’s been sold without proper consultation. I’m livid about it. We were looking to have a youth hub on that site. It was never offered to the town council, which is very disappointing.
“It seems to me the borough abandoned it without trying to use the building or spend money on it.”
It is understood the centre was sold for only £1.
Sara Mildmay-White, Cabinet Member for Health and Communities at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “The decision to transfer centres like this to the community was taken in 2009.
“The town council was offered it but they declined.
“If people in the communities run the centres, they are far more likely to take care of them.”