Jetty Lane personnel are currently in a state of eager anticipation because by the end of next week, we’re hoping that the new centre will have been granted planning permission. It feels like it’s been a long time coming as we submitted our Pre-Application for Planning back in March last year, and then our application for full planning – pages and pages long – went in last August. Understandably, concerns and objections have been lodged from various neighbours who are worried about Jetty Lane generating a lot of traffic ( although 70% of people surveyed said they will be travelling to Jetty Lane on foot), or a lot of noise ( although we have had a professional noise impact survey done that shows that Jetty Lane is likely to make a negligible amount of noise). We’ve taken the concerns expressed seriously and made some changes to the design, such as making the windows that face towards houses narrower and higher. This will mean that no one will normally be able to overlook anyone’s house or garden.

While we realise that some may have genuine concerns about a large new building going up in their vicinity (even one that replaces a previous building which was used for a similar purpose), we find it hard to understand why anyone would go to the lengths of employing a – presumably very expensive – consultant in London to go through our application line by line and raise any and every conceivable objection. That’s what happened and it’s even stranger that the persons who employed the consultant are anonymous (‘a number of local interests’, as they describe themselves. Interested in what? )

On the other hand, we’ve been very heartened by the letters of support that were written to support the planning application and by the donations that keep trickling in. It’s clear that we have the backing of very many groups, clubs and individuals in the community who are very keen indeed for the building to go up soon so that they can start using it! The planning committee meets on 21st February and we’ll know soon after, if that particular hurdle has been surmounted.

Our other main news is that Jetty Lane is currently working hard on our application to become a charity and hopefully in the spring this will happen. Once we have charitable status and planning agreed it will be all go full steam ahead to write bids for funding. Larking Gowen Chartered Accountants, who are helping us with the process of transitioning to a proper charity status have been fantastically helpful. (NB. We were introduced to Larking Gowen via Suffolk ProHelp, a countywide network of businesses which provides professional and strategic support free of charge to voluntary organisations. We heartily endorse this service!)

Jetty Lane directors had a most agreeable Saturday morning recently when we had a photoshoot! We had realised that our publicity was getting a little out of date as we  had no group photos which included the new directors. When local resident and photographer extraordinaire Charmian Berry agreed to take the pictures we leapt at the chance. You’ll no doubt see the photos appearing here and there and we hope you like them.

Cordelia Richman

Project Manager, Jetty Lane