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Fresh proposals unveiled for 100 homes at former council offices

PUBLISHED: 16:53 04 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:13 04 July 2019

A previous impression of what the development would look like Picture: HOOPERS ARCHITECTS

A previous impression of what the development would look like Picture: HOOPERS ARCHITECTS

Archant

Developers have put in a third application for new homes at the site of the former Suffolk Coastal district council offices in Woodbridge, it has emerged.

Active Urban Woodbridge Ltd has unveiled fresh proposals for the Melton Hill site after a previous bid was thrown out by planners.

Original designs for the 100 homes led to them being likened to "cheese wedges" - an initial application was approved before plans were pulled by the developers, while a second bid for planning permission was refused.

This new application features a variety of changes to the site - including the name, and the number of affordable homes provided.

What has changed?

The development will now be called King's View after the nearby Sutton Hoo, in a nod to the area's historical links.

Active Urban is now proposing that 32 affordable homes be built on the site - and the company confirms in its application that it has found a registered provider to take on the homes, Sage Housing.

Other changes include a small shift in the number of bedrooms offered by some of the properties.

The number of two-bed homes has gone down while the number of three-bedroom properties has increased dramatically - from 13 to 32 with three four-bedroom homes also included.

East Suffolk Council bosses said: "East Suffolk Council can confirm it has received a new planning application from Active Urban to build 100 homes on the site of the former Suffolk Coastal District Council offices in Melton Hill, Woodbridge.

"The application has now been processed and uploaded on our website and is open to public consultation.

"Following the consultation period a report will be produced and the application will be considered by the planning committee in due course."

What happened with the original applications?

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The first application for the site, which was given the go ahead by planners before developers withdrew them in August 2018, proposed 33 affordable homes.

In November last year the second bid - which proposed 16 affordable homes and an application for vacant building credit (VBC), a scheme promoted to encourage developers' use of brownfield sites - was rejected.

To qualify for the credit, the council said a site must have "not been in continuous use for any six-month period during the last three years".

It was therefore rejected on the basis VBC did not apply, as the site had remained occupied by SCDC until December 2016.

At the time, Active Urban also said it was struggling to find a social housing provider to take on the site.

What have developers said about the site?

David Hughes, managing director at Active Urban Property Group, said the company were keen to get things moving at the site.

"We have got someone that will take the 32 affordable homes," said Mr Hughes.

"We are delighted that as it means we can be compliant."

Mr Hughes said preparing the new application had allowed them time to look over suggestions made by local people for the site.

"What was a reasonable suggestion was the frontage and so we changed the landscaping," said Mr Hughes.

The new name would be matched with a sculpture commissioned for the site if the application is successful, Mr Hughes added.

"It will be a stunning development," he said.

He encouraged members of the public to make constructive comments on the new application.

"We do read them all," said Mr Hughes.

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