The lack of community and recreational facilities in Halesworth has long been a subject of concern.
The Halesworth Campus Project aims to seize this opportunity to go a long way to address the problem.
We have to look at this in relation to project phases. In the short term – phase one – we are already offering the following facilities:
At present we are letting our grass pitches for Rugby Training and Football Training and they are available to any groups in the area, who feel that their sport could benefit through their use
If you wish to book any of the grass pitches you should contact either
Nikki Button on 01986 835984 Evenings only please
Janet Wright on 07729 485278
There are also three hard tennis courts for hire
Court Hire is available via Halesworth Library on 01986 875095. You will need to go in to the Library to gain entry to the courts and pay your fees. These are currently £1 per court per hour for under 16′s; £2 per court per hour for over 16′s in full time education; and £3 per court per hour for adults
We are still in discussions with Suffolk County Council about the hiring out of the School Sports Hall but we are confident that this will happen shortly. Arrangements for its hire will appear as soon as we have the details
All the latest on the progress of the project...
Common questions answered...
Click on a heading to reveal the answer to the following frequently asked questions.
Halesworth Middle School closed in July 2012. Put simply, the aim of the Campus Project is:
To acquire the middle school site and buildings and
to develop them as a community campus, for the benefit
of the people of Halesworth and surrounding villages
We have to look at this in relation to project phases. In the short term – phase one – we are already offering the following facilities:
We are also very aware that the Middle School and the Dairy Hill playing field sites surround the Health Services site at Cutler’s Hill. So, a priority is to work with Health Services partners to ensure we do not block future expansion or improvement of Health Services for the area.
The campus will be for anybody who wants to use it! Primarily, though, we see it as being for the people of Halesworth and the surrounding villages. We hope some of the facilities will be used by local primary schools – particularly the sports pitches, indoor sports hall and swimming pool. The Health Services may also be interested in using some facilities – particularly the gym and the pool. We expect significant use by local sports clubs and, of course, by local individuals and families.
First of all, we are really pleased that Suffolk County Council has agreed to transfer the Middle School site to us for free (subject to certain conditions). Not having to buy the site at commercial rates is a huge financial boost for us. This has only been possible because the County Council believes we have a project that’s likely to succeed, and which is in line with their strategic objectives.
Secondly, Halesworth Playing Fields Association is planning to sell the existing playing fields at Dairy Hill and to put the proceeds into the campus project. The Dairy Hill site is already allocated for housing development under Waveney District Council’s Local Development Framework (HAL 3), so should bring in a substantial sum.
Thirdly, there is a modest sum held by Waveney District Council. This is reserved for sports development for Halesworth and surrounding parishes and is being released into the campus project under the Council’s conditions.
Fourthly, Suffolk County Council has given us a grant of £57,000 towards project development costs. This is being spent mainly on purchasing the time of our professional Construction Project Manager – Linda Wilson
However, there is still a huge gap between what we have and what we will need if we are to deliver the sort of vision set out in the Masterplan. We are fortunate to have Suffolk County Council’s external funding team working with us on developing and implementing a strategy.
Halesworth Campus Ltd will basically be acting as a social landlord in that we will lease campus facilities to other operating organisations. For example, an operator would pay Halesworth Campus Ltd a rent to allow them to run the pool complex. This sort of arrangement would be put in place with other service operators as well, which would allow Halesworth Campus Ltd to meet the overall operating costs of the site.
Because Halesworth Campus Ltd is a charity, we will not be making any profit for ourselves or for shareholders. Instead, any profits will be ploughed back into future improvement and development of the facilities. The cost of leases to service operators can be kept as low as possible, so long as our overheads and long term liabilities are covered.
In the short term we will be running many of the facilities ourselves. This includes the grass pitches, the tennis courts and the indoor sports and assembly halls. These will provide us with sufficient income to cover operating expenses such as grounds maintenance, insurance, energy costs and cleaning of the buildings.
Back in November 2010 it was a small group of like-minded volunteers who started ‘The Campus Project’. We are now a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee, with a Board of eleven Directors. This charity will continue to run Halesworth Campus for the benefit of the people of Halesworth and surrounding parishes in perpetuity.
We are still all volunteers, devoting hundreds of hours each year to this project, and we have no plans to create paid posts.
This is quite a complex project and there are certainly some risks, but there are also a lot of safeguards, including:
• The planning authorities will only give consent for development of the Dairy Hill site if they are satisfied that the sports pitches will be replaced with new ones on the campus.
• The Charity Commission will only give their consent for disposal of the Dairy Hill site if they are happy that the pitches will be replaced on the campus.
• The County Council will only transfer ownership of the Middle School site to Halesworth Campus Ltd when it is satisfied that the project can go ahead on a sustainable basis
• We have a professional Project Manager working for us. One of her roles is to ensure that risks for the Campus Project are minimised.
No! The Campus Project is entirely consistent with the Town Plan. Both recognise the threat of Halesworth becoming a ‘retirement town’. Both seek to put in place facilities that will encourage younger people and families to come to Halesworth and surrounding villages. Both are trying to help lay the foundations for a more vibrant future.
We are taking great care to work with other groups to ensure that the campus project complements other developments in the town, rather than competing with them. For example:
• We are not proposing a new community centre as part of the campus development. We support the Rifle Hall Trust’s plans to renovate that building as a community hall. We also recognise that there is outline planning permission for a new community centre on the Dairy Farm site.
• We are working closely with Halesworth Health to try and accommodate their plans for expansion and improvement of health services in Halesworth.
• We are not proposing a retail development on the campus. We think the effect of the campus on town centre shops will be either neutral or positive (because some campus users will also visit the town centre).
We have produced ‘mini’ business plans for Suffolk County Council, relating to each separate area for which we’ve been granted a license to occupy.
We are currently engaged in drawing up cost and revenue plans for phase 2, in order to demonstrate to the County Council that this is a viable business.
Ultimately we will submit a full business plan to the Council, supporting the redevelopment to create the pool, fitness gym and other facilities.
Sure! We would welcome more people getting involved – whether you are an interested individual, a representative of a local group or somebody with professional skills to offer. Go to our ‘volunteer’ page to find out more.
Halesworth Playing Fields Association (HPFA) has committed a belief in the project by pledging proceeds of the sale of their Dairy Hill site to the development.
We are also fortunate in having the support of local organisations and councils. We really couldn’t make this happen without them. Thank you!
Feria Urbanism for their master planning expertise.
Foundation East who gave pro bono consultancy help at the beginning.
Halesworth Town Council who helped with a project start up grant.
Stephen Elms for his financial and specialist tax advice.
Steve Jones gave Topographical services at a discounted price.
Suffolk County Council gave a project development grant, officer support and of course the asset transfer of the former school site.
Take-It Photography local accomplished commercial and social photographer Geoff Harriman who supplied us with our profile pictures.
Tony Goldson gave a Suffolk County Council locality budget for set up costs.
Waveney District Council for giving support time and expertise from their officers.
WPP Architects in particular Alan Wilkinson for providing visual aids for our consultation.
This whole project depends on the time given by volunteers. There are no paid staff working for HCL. Without volunteers there would be no Campus Project – it’s as simple as that! But we are under huge pressure with the amount of work going on in different strands and we really need some more people to join us. If you want to help this project succeed, please get in touch to find out more.
Do I need to be skilled?
You don’t need to be a surveyor or an accountant or any other sort of expert. Those of us who have been part of the project from the start have learned skills as we’ve gone along and you can do the same.
I’ve only got a few hours spare
Never mind – we’d be very grateful if you want to spend those few hours working with us!
Will I be Supported?
Yes. The Board has recently agreed a good package of support for volunteers. You will get a proper induction. You will have a member of the Board as a ’link’ person. You will be insured whilst on HCL business. You can claim expenses.
Halesworth Campus Ltd’s journey over the past two years has been eventful. We are very fortunate in the fact that the the Skills Set of our Board Members is wide-reaching yet complementary.
Along the way we have had to learn new skills and collaborate with a variety of clients.
We are right in the middle of a regeneration project and we would like to share our expertise with any other groups who are looking to set out on similar projects, for a modest and negotiable fee.
Currently many County Councils are divesting themselves of Community Assets that they can longer support financially as austerity measures kick in.
Is there a Community Asset near you which you would be keen to take over? If so, HCL is able to offer advice and sevices on the following:
Gain from Loss – the potential for regeneration in a community
Setting up your action group – good practice in governance, project management, and engagement with the public
Sustaining and Growing the Vision
Get to know us...
In 2008 Suffolk County Council took the decision to change from a three tier to a two tier school structure. One of the results of this was the closure of the Halesworth Middle School in July 2012. Although it was extremely sad to see the loss of our wonderful school, it has provided us with an amazing opportunity to secure the future use of the site for the community.
The lack of community and recreational facilities in Halesworth has long been a subject of concern. The Halesworth Campus Project aims to seize this opportunity to go a long way to address the problem.
Interested in getting involved? The project is run by volunteers and on the principal that ‘many hands make light work’ we are always looking for more people to get involved. Please see our ‘volunteer‘ page to find out more or contact as at email@example.com
How we got to where we are today
Halesworth is market town in North Suffolk with a population of around 6000. Its education was delivered through a three tier system: first, middle and high schools. Halesworth and surrounds had a number of first schools, which fed into its popular 9 – 13 Middle School.
High School facilities were located in Bungay. A schools’ organisation review was conducted by Suffolk County Council in 2008. The main proposal was to return the whole county to a two tier system. At the end of this review it became clear that Halesworth Middle School, along with a large number of Middle Schools across Suffolk, would close.
The news of the closing of the Middle School in Halesworth was not popular with parents, students or staff past and present - and efforts to save the school were made. Finally, however, the Secretary of State ruled that the school would close.
A feasibility study was commissioned by Suffolk County Council in July 2009 regarding the future use of the school site. This was conducted by a local consultancy partnership. Their report, based on wide-ranging research concluded the following: ‘there is significant potential for the development of the site to meet a variety of complementary objectives for Halesworth and its surrounding areas. This potential includes: developing a significant post-11 educational provision in the town; developing educational opportunities for adults; developing sport and leisure activities; promoting health and community provision; linking the social agendas of education, sport and health with business and commercial activity in the Halesworth Area. A significant issue which has emerged during the consultation process is the need to ensure that, should a multi-agency use site be developed, a clear management and governance structure is in place to ensure that it meets the needs of all stakeholders’.
When the feasibility study was made available to the public, it shifted real energy into the idea that a gain could be derived from the inevitable loss of the Middle School. Crucial to this was the location of the site. It was home to the newly-opened state-of-the-art North Suffolk Skills Centre: a vocational 14- 19 training facility, which would continue to function. The site was also adjacent to the Health Village, which had aspirations to expand its services. A real bonus was that the site also adjoined the Halesworth Playing Fields Sporting(HPFA) facilities. Sporting provision in the Halesworth Area, had long been awaiting improvement and expansion, particularly its grass pitches. The acquisition of school playing fields alone would improve sporting provision at a stroke. This factor proved highly motivating for a number of people. However, as the study was at pains to point out, a vision would be nothing if there was no management and governance structure to take it forward.
Fortunately a group of like-minded volunteers set up the Halesworth Campus Action Group in October 2010. It comprised stakeholders from County, District and Local Councils, Health, HPFA, Town Plan (add link). It has also attracted full time volunteers who are wholly dedicated to the project’s success. A team of eleven people, who have a range of professional skills, now make up the Board of Directors of the not for profit charity - Halesworth Campus Limited (HCL): a very robust unit.
It dedicates itself to making the campus a multi-agency site serving Halesworth and the Blyth Valley catchment.
Get in touch with us...
Write to us at:
C/O Cross Ram & Co,
18 The Thoroughfare,
Suffolk IP19 8AJ
Or call us on:
Simon Weeks - 01986 784348
Erik Wilcock - 01986 873557