Stowmarket: Mid Suffolk votes in favour of major business site at Mill Lane
18:44 11 March 2014
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A “golden opportunity” is available for businesses after major proposals to provide up to 3,000 jobs on a 195 acre site were approved.
Companies are already interested in basing themselves at the new Mill Lane site, according to Mid Suffolk District Council, after councillors voted through the plans in Stowmarket.
The council met to discuss a development brief which gives a detailed outline to developers seeking to invest in the site on what can be built.
Derrick Haley, leader of Mid Suffolk, said: “This is an important site for the growth in the area. It’s no good to keep building houses without some employment. It’s a win-win situation and something we need to get on with - I’ve said before that it’s something we’ve needed for a long time. It’s a golden opportunity for us to push on as soon as possible.”
Sara Michell, councillor for Rickinghall and Walsham, said: “This is a golden opportunity for Stowmarket, I think it will help the economy in the area and be a great opportunity for jobs locally which is much better than people having to travel to work.”
Paul Munson, planning consultant for Mid Suffolk and Babergh district councils, told the meeting: “We know there’s interest from some companies who wish to locate to the site. It’s important to put the brief in place as a supplementary planning document as soon as possible.”
He said the two “key issues” residents identified through the proposal’s consultation were over the connection of the site’s two phases. Mr Munson said planners were working to provide a “connective corridor” between the phases but it was ultimately up to the land owners.
Several concerns were flagged by residents of Clamp Farm where there are listed buildings. Concerns over how residents’ privacy and how the site could visually impact upon the farm have been aired.
Mr Munson said work was being done to “address some of the concerns” expressed by residents.
Councillors, Diana Kearsley, John Field, Penny Otton and Andrew Stringer all raised why electricity cables would be going via overhead cables to be connected to the grid.
Mr Munson said he had been told it would cost “many millions of pounds” for the cables to be placed underground and if it had been made a planning requirement then no developers would be interested.
The site is 195 acres (79 hectares) big but 97 acres (39.5 hectares) will be for business, the rest for infrastructure and landscaping.
Initial expectations are for phase one to be complete by 2017, with phase two by 2027 at the latest.
Mid Suffolk voted unanimously in favour of the development brief.
The development brief is required before any planning applications can be submitted.