Mildenhall Hub welcomes first customers as library opens and Abbeycroft Leisure begins series of test events
A multi-million pound public sector hub in Mildenhall has welcomed its first customers with the launch of a library.
The new Mildenhall Library in the main atrium area of the £39 million facility, in Sheldrick Way, opened at 10am today, while Abbeycroft Leisure is welcoming some of its members and clubs to a series of test events, building up to a full opening on June 14.
Allison Higgins, of Lark Road, Mildenhall, was the first customer at the hub, which brings together education, health, leisure, community and public services.
She said: “It is incredible. I love the atrium and library area and I’m looking forward to everything else, particularly the leisure facilities.
"It’s great to have everything under one roof."
The phased opening of Mildenhall Hub will see Abbeycroft start to take general bookings for its facilities from the end of next week, while Mildenhall College Academy will complete the move from its Bury Road site over half term, ready to welcome students from June 14.
Once fully open the hub will offer a school, two new pools, a gym, a 3G outdoor pitch, fitness studios and a sports hall, as well as a library, health centre, children’s centre and job centre.
The hub also features office space for the NHS, police, Suffolk County Council and West Suffolk Council with the partners all due to move in over the summer.
The library will initially be open from 10am to 3pm, Monday to Saturday, for the first two weeks, but from June 14 it will increase its weekly opening hours from 68 to more than 100, seven days a week.
Bruce Leeke, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries, said: “It’s really exciting to be opening a new library in the heart of this fantastic new facility and our customers will eventually benefit from the longer opening hours and the chance to access all these services under one roof.
"We take pride in our strong roots in the local community and look forward to working with other Hub partners to make the library even more than the sum of its parts.
"Libraries are a gateway to so much and we want to take this opportunity to encourage even more people to use our services and enjoy our diverse range of activities."
Mildenhall Hub is part of the Government’s One Public Estate Programme, with funding from West Suffolk Council, the Department for Education, Suffolk County Council, Academy Transformation Trust, Sport England and Suffolk Police.
Cllr Jo Rayner, West Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for leisure, culture and community hubs, said: "While lots of work has taken place, for me this marks a new and exciting chapter in the hub story and it’s great to see the library open and welcoming visitors to this fantastic new facility.
"And we can promise you a page turner with even more to look forward to as the bigger and better leisure facilities, new school and other hub partners move in over the coming days and weeks ahead and set about working even more collaboratively for the benefit of our residents."
Final work on the car park and bus stop area will be over the next week or so ahead of the school opening.
Some of the landscaping work will also take place later this year to tie into planting seasons.