Perks from Caister Tesco could come sooner than expected

A NEW �1m village centre providing state-of-the-art facilities for 80 Caister groups and sports teams could arrive sooner than a planned new Tesco store, developers have revealed.

Developer Tamsland, which is building the two-storey Caister Village Centre and supermarket in Yarmouth Road, hopes to submit a planning application for the project in May and has revealed the centre, boasting a 200-seater main hall, music practice rooms and a cafe, could be built first.

The plans have been welcomed by residents and user groups who are relishing the chance to swap the village’s current old and draughty hall for the modern and warm surrounds of the new centre, which will be twice the size of the current village hall.

Lily Herring, 73, secretary of the Darby and Joan Club in Caister, believed her flourishing over-60s group, which currently has 100 members, could attract even more by moving to the new centre.

She said: “To our members, the new village centre will be marvellous because the council hall is very cold in winter. Cold, draughty, it has done its job but now it is past its sell-by-date.

“Our people are a very happy bunch of people and we make the best of what we have got; but it can be such a cold place in winter.”

The group holds whist and bingo evenings at the village hall, and organises day trips to Hunstanton, Romford market and Southend, among other places.

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Parent Iyesha Brooks hoped the centre would be somewhere youngsters in the village could go without getting bored.

She said her daughter Jemma, 17, used to return home bored within 30 minutes of visiting the village’s youth centre, which the new village centre will replace, saying there was nothing to do.

The mum-of-five added parks in the village did not provide an adequate alternative. “I have got five children altogether and it would just be nice to take my other three down there after school, and at half term, and know they will be entertained.

“It would be nice to take them somewhere other than the park all the time because that is the only place to take them,” Ms Brooks added.

Tamsland developers Nick Wright and David Hammond revealed that as well as having space for village groups, band rehearsals and council meetings, the outdoor space would be used by sports groups, and there would be facilities for basketball and netball among other sports.

A dedicated car park would be provided with 75 spaces.

The new Tesco store and car park will be built to the right of a new access road at Pump Lane bridleway, which will be tarred over and a new roundabout added giving access to the store car park.

The current store will be demolished to make way for the new building, which will be built further back and slightly to the right of the previous premises.

Two public exhibitions have already been held, providing Caister residents with the chance to comment on the plans, and Mr Hammond said 78pc of respondents to a questionnaire were in favour of the new store and village centre.

Mr Hammond said: “This will be a purpose-built, efficient, state-of-the-art new centre.”

The developers hope to complete building by 2013.