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When will work start on homes for former council office sites?

PUBLISHED: 11:52 09 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:52 09 March 2020

A CGI rendering of the homes planned on the former Mid Suffolk District Council offices in Needham Market, now delayed to summer 2020. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

A CGI rendering of the homes planned on the former Mid Suffolk District Council offices in Needham Market, now delayed to summer 2020. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL

Work to build dozens of homes on former council office sites in Needham Market and Hadleigh will get under way this summer, council chiefs say following delays to the schemes.

Mid Suffolk's council offices in Needham Market as they were. 
Picture: JERRY TURNERMid Suffolk's council offices in Needham Market as they were. Picture: JERRY TURNER

Babergh District Council's old Hadleigh base in Corks Lane has planning permission for 57 new homes while the ex-Mid Suffolk District Council HQ in High Street, Needham Market, will be transformed into 94 homes and a convenience store.

MORE: Needham Market council office homes plan approved

Both schemes had been anticipated to start at the tail end of 2019, but reports being presented to both councils' cabinets this week confirmed there had been delays.

A council spokeswoman said both were anticipated to start this summer instead.

"The transformation of our former offices in Needham Market into 94 new homes and a convenience store is part of our wider vision for the town - together with the regeneration of the former Needham Middle School site and planned improvements to nearby Needham Lake," she said.

An architects' impression of the new homes on the Babergh offices site, also anticipated to start in the summer now. Picture: BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCILAn architects' impression of the new homes on the Babergh offices site, also anticipated to start in the summer now. Picture: BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL

"There are a lot of different elements that need to come together in order to deliver these changes, including meeting all planning requirements and working with partners and the community, to ensure the construction project goes smoothly.

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"Work will be begin on site this summer, with the first phase of construction due for completion next year."

On Babergh she added: "Plans to convert the former council offices in Hadleigh into 57 new homes were approved last March and since then we have been in discussions with the local community, including neighbouring Hadleigh Cricket Club and Sport England, to ensure we can find the best way to progress them.

The old Babergh District Council offices in Hadleigh. PIcture: PHIL MORLEYThe old Babergh District Council offices in Hadleigh. PIcture: PHIL MORLEY

"This has taken a little longer than we hoped, but it is important that we work together to meet all planning conditions and find the best possible solution for the town.

"We are hopeful that work will be able to begin on site this summer."

The two councils moved to Endeavour House in Ipswich in the autumn of 2017 as part of cost-cutting measures, but fears were raised that taking the headquarters out of the two districts would make it more difficult for people to access services.

John Matthissen from the Mid Suffolk Green group said: "The decision to move out of the Needham HQ was made almost four years ago, and this project could have moved ahead much sooner.

Mid Suffolk Green councillor John Matthissen said progress could have been made much sooner on the council site. Picture: OWEN HINESMid Suffolk Green councillor John Matthissen said progress could have been made much sooner on the council site. Picture: OWEN HINES

"We pointed out two or three years ago that there were too many projects in the pipeline and not enough management resource handle them.

"The public perception regarding the delay will be worsened when we start phase one on the Hurstlea Road car park site, depriving the town centre of scarce parking space. This will leave the offices standing empty for at least another year."

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