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Needham Lake visitor centre project to cost extra £200,000

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An extra £200,000 will be spent on the Needham Lake visitor centre project in Needham Market as costs escalate.

But council chiefs are still hoping to begin work by the end of May ahead of a planned October opening.

Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet agreed to invest the additional £200,000 on Monday, because the costs around drainage and disabled access were higher than originally forecast.

Needham Lake visitor centre plans
Needham Lake visitor centre plans

The council had already allocated £600,000 to the scheme, with the additional £200,000 expected to come from retained business rates.

The council's deputy leader Gerard Brewster said there was 'no money that is unwisely spent' and added: “The finance shown in March was an indicative figure of £600,000. Some of the developments were unknown and we always expected it to be higher.”

Julie Flatman, cabinet member for communities and housing added: “We are actually delivering it, which is great for the area.

“Needham Market is a brilliant small market town, it’s got some fantastic little shops, and I think that being able to go to the lake, have the time there, with the new access going through at the train station being able to walk up to the town is going to make a huge difference.

“We are really hopeful spades will go in the ground at the end of May.”

The plans also feature a café and kitchen, as well as unisex toilets and disabled access. Permission was secured in December following a public consultation.

This week, the cabinet was also presented with the option of reducing the facilities at the site to bring the proposals within the existing £600,000 budget, but this was ruled out because it had potential to reduce some of the environmental sustainability features.