Food store enquiry wait for answers
STOWMARKET will have to wait nearly two months before finding out if a town centre discount food store will be built.Boden Properties Ltd wants to invest £3million to develop the former waterworks site, in Union Street West.
STOWMARKET will have to wait nearly two months before finding out if a town centre discount food store will be built.
Boden Properties Ltd wants to invest £3million to develop the former waterworks site, in Union Street West. This would include an Aldi supermarket as well as other small shops.
The original application was rejected by Mid Suffolk council, but the developers want to overturn this decision.
A two-day public enquiry has concluded and government inspector Robert Forster has gone away to consider his views.
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A government spokesman said it would be at least seven weeks before a decision is announced.
The second day of the enquiry heard from a resident who said the development would resemble a "prison".
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David Clarke, of Bond Street, said: "Many people find the prospect of the development distasteful. There will be a huge wall and it will not be a pretty sight for residents or passing motorists. It's more like a prison than anything else."
John Matthissen, representing Mid Suffolk Friends of the Earth, is also opposed to the development.
He called the plot "a key site" and said it would be more suitable as a bus interchange.
Mark Lowe QC, representing the developers, argued: "The majority of the buildings on site are not in use and in need of repair and renovation. It is in sore need of redevelopment and has been so for too long already.
"To reject these proposals is likely to condemn its future to prolonged uncertainty in the absence of any identified viable alternative use.''
Paul Shadarevian QC, representing Mid Suffolk council, said the area needs regenerating, but in a way that respects the Conservation Area.
He said a discount food store will not contribute to the town centre's long-term viability and it is not enough to simply say the development will improve the derelict area.