Following the news in late November 2016, that Halesworth Playing Fields Association (HPFA) had pulled out of the project, representatives of Castlemeadow Care (CMC) and the charities Halesworth Health (HH), and Halesworth Campus (HCL) met on the 2nd December to discuss how best to go forward. The following statement was agreed by all parties:
The meeting was held on 23rd August at 5.30pm in the Skills Academy. 28 residents attended, plus the Police Community Support Officer.
David Gallagher, the Halesworth Campus project manager, displayed the master plan, showing the planned sports and leisure facilities on the Campus. Also the care home incorporating NHS beds, and the supported housing planned for the Dairy Hill site. He explained the three phases of the build and likely timescale, and he showed where the new access road to both sites will be made along what was the old footpath into the school.
Questions and discussion focused on:
- The hours of operation
- The volume of traffic estimated to be using the new road, and the making of a safe junction
- The siting of the all-weather pitch and tennis courts – the only two elements which will have flood lighting
- The issue of general noise
- The provision of car and bike parking at the sports centre, and safe access for cyclists and pedestrians
David explained the preferred site operator is Sentinel, a not-for-profit sports operating company. Although the facilities will be open for use daytime and evening all year round, the open areas will mainly be used at weekends and in the school holidays. Phase 1 of the development includes grass and all-weather pitches, tennis courts, bowling green and sports building, including martial arts studio, gym (55 – 75 stations) and changing rooms. Phase 2 is an indoor swimming pool, though this will require considerable further fund-raising. Phase 3 is a general sports hall, suitable for community activities.
In response to questions he explained that the playing fields on Dairy Hill have been designated for development for some time as part of town planning. Details of the new access road and junction with Bungay Road will be set out into the planning application.
Sentinel and sports clubs will be expected to set up protocols for general behaviour. There will be specialist, mesh-type high fencing around the all-weather pitch, designed to stop vibration and dissipate sound, as well as stopping balls from going out.
Floodlighting is necessary to enable full use of the artificial pitches (3G) and the tennis courts. The new-style floodlights which will be installed on 15m columns are more accurate in directing light into limited areas than floodlights in the past, and so light pollution to the surrounding area is controlled.
On 6 May a joint public exhibition was held at Halesworth Library. On display were the plans for sport and fitness facilities on Halesworth Campus, and the health and care facilities to be built on Dairy Hill. It was a chance for people to see the site plans, building elevations and timelines covering all aspects of the project. They could also talk to trustees of HCL, HPFA, and Halesworth Health, and to the leaders of Castlemeadow Care, the company planning to develop the new health facilities. 170 people attended, including the two local MPs. Feedback from those attending the exhibition was overwhelmingly positive.