AMBITIOUS plans for an £8m re-development of a former boatyard have been broadly welcomed.

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Developers have outlined their vision for the derelict Whisstocks site on the riverside in Woodbridge, close to the town’s tide mill.

The scheme includes a large boat shed in which it is hoped an exact working replica of the Anglo-Saxon ship discovered at nearby Sutton Hoo could be built. It also features a heritage building for Woodbridge Museum and a community outdoor space, along with a restaurant, cafe, bar, two shops and 14 holiday homes.

Chris Mapey, landlord of The Angel pub and secretary of the Market Hill Association, welcomed the plans but said he did have concerns it might take visitors away from the town centre. “It’s very positive that something is being done but I think we need to ensure some kind of link between the quayside and Market Hill. We still need to get visitors here into the historic heart of Woodbridge.”

Tony Hubbard, chairman of the Woodbridge Tide Mill Trust, said they were supportive of community use of the site and it was a great opportunity to create a “heritage hub” for that part of town.

However he added: “The slight worry is the number of holiday flats they are proposing - we wouldn’t want that to dominate the tide mill. At the moment it sits out there alone on the river and we wouldn’t want that to be lessened.”

Martin Atkinson, the National Trust’s property manager for Sutton Hoo, said it would be great to work with the community to build a giant Anglo-Saxon ship. “That has always been an ambition and it would be wonderful to make it a reality,” he said. “To see the ship in real life, floating on the river - it would be amazing.”

The proposals have been put together by Norwich-based developers FW Properties following talks with the Whisstocks Project CIC (Community Interest Company) and other groups. Bosses have stressed the project would focus on the community and would seek to encourage visitors to the Market Hill - complementing the existing businesses and retailers. Plans have also been drawn up for the nearby Nunn’s Mill site which include seven town houses, four flats and two commercial units.

The proposals will be on show to the public at The Crown on Thursday, January 24 from 10.30am until 8pm and Friday, January 25 from 8am until 7pm.

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