Boatyard plans enter choppy water

CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish a Woodbridge boatyard and replace it with houses have been criticised in an official planning report.The report revealed that there has been widespread condemnation from numerous organisations and residents over the Whisstocks boatyard redevelopment scheme.

By Richard Smith

CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish a Woodbridge boatyard and replace it with houses have been criticised in an official planning report.

The report revealed that there has been widespread condemnation from numerous organisations and residents over the Whisstocks boatyard redevelopment scheme.

Now councillors at Suffolk Coastal District Council are being urged to reject the project when they discuss it at a meeting on Thursday.

The council said the scheme unveiled by Michael Howard Homes would 'seriously erode' the area's character and the setting of the Grade I listed Tide Mill and Grade II listed Granary buildings.

Critics include the town council, the district council's environmental services department, the Environment Agency, English Heritage, National Trust, Woodbridge Society, Suffolk Preservation Society and nearly 30 residents.

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Woodbridge Tide Mill Trust supports the scheme.

The aim is to demolish the industrial buildings and erect 1,238sq m of offices to provide 34 jobs, with 13 homes in three and four-storey buildings overlooking the River Deben.

Michael Howard Homes said this would tidy up the unkempt site and produce a positive redevelopment to enhance the waterfront area.

Critics said the scheme would destroy a ''familiar and cherished local scene'' in Woodbridge and dwarf the world famous Tide Mill by bringing in overpowering buildings immediately adjacent to the river.

They said the designs were bogus, oversized, pretentious and more reminiscent of industrial and port activity at Neptune Quay, Ipswich than historic Woodbridge.

The project would be very visible from the National Trust's Sutton Hoo tourist attraction and the Trust said the buildings would harm the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Woodbridge Society said the ''existing stunning impact of the Tide Mill and Granary'' would be lost.

Suffolk Coastal's Local Plan identifies the area for business or leisure uses and planners said new homes were therefore contrary to this policy.

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