First stage opening nears for project to boost education, skills and High Street trade

The first stage in a project to boost adult education and skills and bring extra footfall to a town centre to support existing and new businesses, is weeks away from opening.

Mixbrow Construction Ltd is carrying out works to the second floor of Provincial House, (pictured above) in Haverhill High Street, on behalf of West Suffolk Council, ready for West Suffolk College, part of the Eastern Education Group, to move its Personal and Professional Learning Centre there this summer.

West Suffolk Council, which owns the building, agreed to budget up to £2 million for works late last year. The college has signed up to take on the ground floor high street unit as well as part of the second floor of the building.

Now the college is due to put-up marketing material in the windows next week to further make people aware of the move as well as encouraging people to sign up to adult skills and education classes.

The Personal and Professional Learning Centre will open in phases with the ground floor opening in the summer and the second floor in the autumn.

The council’s first floor long term tenant AXA insurance will remain while the vacant third floor of the building is being marketed.

Diane Hind, cabinet member for Resources at West Suffolk Council, said: “This is an exciting project which will bring a new tenant to part of the building, boost adult education, skills and sustainable growth while also generating income to support the day-to-day council services that we provide to residents across West Suffolk. We are delighted with the progress being made and we’re looking forward to welcoming the college to the building”

And Indy Wijenayaka, cabinet member for Growth at West Suffolk Council, said: “This will support adults locally who want to learn or develop skills, building their confidence, self-esteem and helping them on their career path in line with our own strategic aim for sustainable growth in West Suffolk.

“It will also bring more footfall to the high street to benefit the existing businesses here. That in turn will play a part in encouraging and developing business growth in the local area including start-ups and the regeneration of the town centre.”

Laraine Moody, from the Eastern Education Group, said: “We are delighted that this project is gaining momentum and our new centre – that will be based in the heart of Haverhill – is one step closer.

“We are just a few weeks away from opening and we can’t wait to continue give local people of all ages the chance to gain new skills, retrain and learn a new hobby in this fantastic new facility that is situated in such a prominent location.”

Michael Manning, contracts manager for Mixbrow, added: “We are delighted to be working with the council on this project, the latest stage of which is to deliver new and important working areas for the college. It is a very much a team effort but the fact that this will benefit so many people through adult skills and learning is extremely rewarding for all involved and we are looking forward to seeing it in use.”

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