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Heath secretary Matt Hancock turns the first sod at the Mildenhall Hub

Matt Hancock at the start of building work at the Mildenhall Hub (7669797)
Matt Hancock at the start of building work at the Mildenhall Hub (7669797)

Mildenhall's MP has turned the first sod on a £39 million project to bring the town's public services under one roof.

Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, today got behind the controls of a digger to begin building work at the Mildenhll Hub - a scheme which will build a bigger school, swimming pool and health centre, children's centre, library, JobCentre, Citizen's Advice Bureau, police station, and council offices at the Sheldrick Way site.

The health secretary joined councillors, school children, health bosses and builders at the ceremonial start of the project. In just over a week's time contractor RG Carter will start construction at the site, with building work expected to be completed in 2020.

Mr Hancock said: "It's a really important project for Mildenhall. There isn't a project in the country that brings together so many different public services in one place."

Mildenhall Hub (7659293)
Mildenhall Hub (7659293)

"Everyone had played a part in making this happen and it means we are going to get at the same time an upgrade to our school, our leisure centre, the police are going to get a better building, and modern offices as well, all in one place."

He added: "The school building here in Mildenhall was built as a temporary measure almost 50 years ago and is desperately in need of an upgrade - Mildenhall needed an upgrade to all its different buildings and that's what it's got."

Susan Byles, principal of Mildenhall College Academy, said: "There are few academies in the country that are purposely designed and built to be at the very centre of a community hub.

"The opportunities that this will bring to the students of Mildenhall are both unique and plentiful. Not only will our students learn in a modern, purpose built academy building but they will also have access to other amazing facilities such as a swimming pool and leisure centre."

Cllr James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said it was an 'exciting and ambitious project'.

The multi-million pound budget is being funded by the district council, Department for Education, Suffolk County Council, the Academy Transformation Trust, Sport England and Suffolk Police.