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£2m investment for Haverhill town centre approved by West Suffolk Council





A plan to invest up to £2 million into Haverhill town centre to attract more businesses, support current traders and boost adult skills and education has been backed.

West Suffolk Council cabinet supported plans to help relocate the town’s Personal and Professional Learning Centre run by the Eastern Education Group into the High Street at Provincial House.

At their meeting on Tuesday, cabinet also heard how the proposals also include remodelling the building to attract more business while bringing an income to the council.

Cllr Indy Wijenayaka, cabinet member for growth, Cllr Diane Hind, cabinet member for resources, Cllr Cliff Waterman, leader of West Suffolk Council and Laraine Moody, group principal - University and Professional Development at West Suffolk College, outside Provincial House in Haverhill.Contributed picture
Cllr Indy Wijenayaka, cabinet member for growth, Cllr Diane Hind, cabinet member for resources, Cllr Cliff Waterman, leader of West Suffolk Council and Laraine Moody, group principal - University and Professional Development at West Suffolk College, outside Provincial House in Haverhill.Contributed picture

Laraine Moody, group principal of University and Professional Development said: “We are delighted with this news that will see the Eastern Education Group Personal and Professional Learning Centre move to the heart of Haverhill.

“We remain firmly committed and incredibly proud to serve the town and surrounding communities with our ever growing training and education programme.

“And we believe this decision will enable us to support even more local residents as we help them gain new skills and experiences that will enable them to progress.”

West Suffolk councillors, from left: Indy Wijenayaka, Diane Hind and Cliff Waterman with Laraine Moody, from West Suffolk College inside Provincial House.Contributed picture
West Suffolk councillors, from left: Indy Wijenayaka, Diane Hind and Cliff Waterman with Laraine Moody, from West Suffolk College inside Provincial House.Contributed picture

The council bought Provincial House in 2019, to help retain a major employer, AXA, in the town, and identify an opportunity to use it’s High Street location to encourage footfall and support local businesses.

Since then phased works have been going on to bring the building up to the required standards and Investigations made to find what is the best use of the property to create jobs and drive people to use the town centre.

The council is now partnering with the Eastern Education Group as part of the One Public Estate initiative to explore the potential to re-locate the Learning Centre into the town centre.

The college is based at the former Parkway Middle School in Park Road.

The site is owned by Unity School Partnership which is selling it to raise funds that will be used to to revamp facilities at Castle Manor Academy.

Cabinet agreed to invest up to a further £2 million into Provincial House, from the Investing in our Growth Agenda fund (supported by external borrowing). This would fund the investment needed in the remaining vacant floors including the work required to relocate the college.

Works would include creating smaller, modern business units for start-up and existing businesses.

Once complete, the project is estimated to create a net surplus after borrowing in line with the council’s Investing in our Growth Agenda fund that will go towards the delivery of council services.