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New plans revealed to use auction house site for homes

PUBLISHED: 07:30 09 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:47 09 November 2020

The Diamond MIlls auction house in Felixstowe could be replaced with new homes Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL

The Diamond MIlls auction house in Felixstowe could be replaced with new homes Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL

Archant

Fresh plans have been submitted to demolish a well-known Suffolk auction house and replace it with new homes.

Diamond Mills has run auctions at its Orwell Road site since the 1950s Picture: RICHARD CORNWELLDiamond Mills has run auctions at its Orwell Road site since the 1950s Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL

Diamond Mills wants to knock down its hall – which has stood in Orwell Road, Felixstowe, since the 1950s – and build seven new homes on the site.

Previously the company, an estate agent, valuers and auctioneers based in Hamilton Road, gained consent from East Suffolk Council for nine apartments and three commercial units on the Orwell Road site but the project has failed to secure a developer.

Despite extensive marketing over the past two years – and even dropping the price from £825,000 to £700,000 – there has been a lack of interest, with the commercial element proving the deterrent.

Phil Cobbold Planning Ltd, on behalf of Diamond Mills, said: “There is no demand for the commercial element of the approved scheme.

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“This new scheme which proposes solely residential redevelopment of the site has been the subject of positive pre-application discussions with the council earlier this year.”

A marketing statement frm Diamond Mills said: “Developers are not interested in retail units in numbers. Demand was already very weak before Covid and it is highly unlikely to change in the short to medium term.

“Furthermore, the market for leasehold flats has declined and is also saturated. Apart from the large number of available premises, the other main reason for the decline in the leasehold market is the loss of tax advantages to landlords and government proposals to give tenants long term protection and the proposed removal of the Section 21 notice.

“This removes incentives for landlords to buy and also the security of letting. If a landlord cannot regain possession of his asset, then obviously there is no point in letting the property.

“However, the position is completely different with regard to the demand for terraced and semi-detached houses. There is a very strong demand for residential town houses as recent sales evidence has confirmed.”

The plans are for outline permission but show proposed semi-detached and terraced homes fronting onto Leopold Road and Orwell Road.

The council is expected to make a decision before the end of the year or early 2021.


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