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Development could affect tourism

PUBLISHED: 17:48 14 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 March 2010

NEW homes will ruin the character of Woodbridge and could affect the tourist trade, a town councillor has claimed.

Office blocks and flats that could be destined for the Whisstocks site and Tide Mill area have fallen foul of the town council planning committee.

NEW homes will ruin the character of Woodbridge and could affect the tourist trade, a town councillor has claimed.

Office blocks and flats that could be destined for the Whisstocks site and Tide Mill area have fallen foul of the town council planning committee.

Michael Howard Homes has put forward plans to build 13 homes and office blocks next to the River Deben.

But members of the committee have attacked the project vowing to turn out in force against it when Suffolk Coastal discusses the application.

The original plans have already been scaled down because of criticisms that the character of the area would be spoiled.

Following a meeting of the planning committee councillor Fred Reynolds said that the character of the area would still be altered "irrevocably" if the building went ahead.

He said: "There is no doubt that something has to be done to the present site. But these buildings are very high and are completely out of character.

"They are planning an imitation Customs House but there was never one there in the first place – it is just not appropriate to Woodbridge."

Mr Reynolds, who is a former mayor of the town, said: "I cannot see why other light industry could not be encouraged – it would not compete with the character and could still be profitable. But it is not as profitable as selling houses and that is what we are up against.

"We are throwing away our heritage just to build houses, just to make it pay."

There are also fears that efforts to attract more tourists to the area by sprucing up Tide Mill Quay and providing a pontoon ferry to the new Sutton Hoo site may be thwarted by the building of the new homes.

Mr Reynolds said: "People coming up from London will walk to the quay from the station.

"They will have to pass this huge false development."

The planning committee has now forwarded its objections to the district council stating amongst other things that the development is overbearing and will dwarf the rest of the area.

As the site is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty it is felt the development will have an impact on this as well as resulting in the reduction of what is already an employment site.

Although the council has acknowledged that boat building is a declining trade it was felt the area had potential for development within tourism.

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