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Mildenhall Hub progress revealed as West Suffolk Council eyes May opening date



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A district council has revealed its much anticipated Mildenhall Hub is set to open its doors for the first time in May.

West Suffolk director Alex Wilson told councillors on Thursday the multimillion pound public service hub, which will bring police, the council, the town’s secondary school and other services under one roof, will open from May 24 as part of a rolling programme.

But, under Boris Johnson’s current coronavirus re-opening timetable, when the hub opens there will still be a need for social distancing Mr Wilson said.

The Mildenhall Hub is, under the current unlock timetable, set to open in May.
The Mildenhall Hub is, under the current unlock timetable, set to open in May.

It will mean there will need to be bookings for activities, office workers will still be told to work from home, and a one way system will still be in place around the Sheldrick Way centre.

And some parts of the hub will be delayed. The cafe, the soft play area, the conference room, some offices, and public art planned for the new hub, will be put off until a later date.

“People’s experience when they come in will be very different in May to what it would be like in the long term,” he said.

Mildenhall Hub's swimming pool, which will have six lanes once opened. Mildenhall's current swimming pool has just four lanes.
Mildenhall Hub's swimming pool, which will have six lanes once opened. Mildenhall's current swimming pool has just four lanes.

At the authority’s overview and scrutiny committee last week, councillors were shown snapshots of what the site looks like at the moment and told of how close contractor RG Carter is to handing over the site to the district and the nine other partner agencies, expected to be next month.

“Our main plan at the moment is to wait until after June 21 and then, at that point, offer our main induction programme and tours and family days, and all the things that we can do when we’re not so restricted and have the official opening in early Autumn,” Mr Wilson added.

Mildenhall College Academy is also set to move into the new building, with the new building becoming its home later in the year.

A science lab at the hub, which will become home to Mildenhall College Academy.
A science lab at the hub, which will become home to Mildenhall College Academy.

“The idea is the school will open in early June for students, and that will give everything else a chance to be bedded in before they arrive onto the site,” said Mr Wilson.

Mildenhall councillor Ian Shipp said he was ‘very much looking forward’ to the centre opening.

“It’s going to be a fantastic new facility for the children and young people of Mildenhall,” he said.

The entrance to the Mildenhall Hub, which is in the town's Sheldrick Way.
The entrance to the Mildenhall Hub, which is in the town's Sheldrick Way.

Mr Wilson said West Suffolk’s offices in College Heath Road, which were once home to the Forest Heath District Council’s headquarters, will become land for housing once the hub has opened.

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk

Read more: All the latest news from Mildenhall