Transforming public services in West Suffolk

Focusing on the public estate in six market towns West Suffolk is transforming how their public services are being delivered to meet the needs of their communities and create revenue savings.


Region: East, South East
Theme: Integrated Public Services, Locality Reviews

The challenge

The One Public Estate (OPE) Property Board for West Suffolk covers six market towns and a large rural area. The Board has developed a place-based approach to examine opportunities to use the whole public estate. This work aimed to deliver the effective service delivery of partners, with a particular focus on creating additional community hubs. 

The story

OPE has awarded over £620,000 to West Suffolk’s agenda for service colocation through the use of community hubs and place-based development. Continued revenue investment by OPE has already helped West Suffolk to carry out public asset studies in five of its market towns to map opportunities to deliver the full range of OPE benefits. At present, there are new hub projects, tailored to local circumstances, in all six of its towns, each at various stages of development and ranging from large to very small. Building on a long-standing programme of colocation in Suffolk, the programme is central to delivering the regeneration of key sites and enabling collaboration between the full range of public, voluntary and community sector organisations to achieve economic growth, efficiency savings and more integrated services.

The £40m+ Mildenhall Hub is an exemplar project which brings together a secondary school, leisure facilities, health centre, pre-school, children’s centre, public library, Job Centre, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, new community facilities and office space for Suffolk Police, West Suffolk Council, Suffolk County Council, the NHS and other agencies – all on a single site. Completion of this flagship development is expected in 2020.  

Transforming public services in West Suffolk map
Transforming public services in West-Suffolk - 3d image

West Suffolk was awarded OPE Phase 7 funding for feasibility work to support its Western Way Development project in its largest town, Bury St Edmunds.  The Western Way Development seeks to create a national exemplar hub of public and private sector uses, with a particular focus on improving health and skills. The site already contains shared council and NHS offices, and, if the project proceeds, this existing building will be linked to a single hub containing a leisure centre, education facilities, community health, blue light and advice services, alongside commercial office space. The site can also provide student accommodation for the neighbouring College. This next phase of a ‘Public Service Village’ concept will deliver regeneration and transformational sharing of the public estate.

"Funding for independent public asset studies not only helped us to map and identify opportunities to use the public estate as a catalyst for change, but cemented the OPE partnership in its early days.  With that work largely completed, we have a full and evidence-based programme of potential place-based projects across our whole area."
Alex Wilson, Director, West Suffolk Council

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Further work is being carried out in Haverhill, Newmarket, Clare and Brandon to create a series of hubs in a variety of models, to meet the particular needs and circumstances of each place. These range from small community-run hubs to multi-agency schemes, with close integration of the local NHS Sustainable Transformation Plan (STP) estates programme and blue-light colocation opportunities. 

The outcomes

The West Suffolk community hub and place based review programme is forecast to deliver the following outcomes over the next 10 years.

  • £33m capital receipts
  • £12m revenue savings
  • land released for over 1,200 new homes
  • creation of over 4,000 jobs.

Co-location of services will help ease the customer journey and form stronger collaboration between councils, NHS, police, central government, education and other agencies.

For further information please contact our Regional Programme Managers for the East and South East.