Hotel waits over expansion

AS the debate over controversial plans for expansion at Ufford Park continues, councillors will be urged to visit the site before making their final decisions.

AS the debate over controversial plans for expansion at Ufford Park continues, councillors will be urged to visit the site before making their final decisions.

In a multi-million pound development, owners of the Ufford Park Hotel and golf club wish to more than double its number of bedrooms from the existing 44 to 97.

There are also plans for a golf academy and the creation of a two-tier, 32 bay, floodlit driving range.

Local residents, parish councils and the Suffolk Preservation Society have all expressed concern.

Opposers of the plans cite light pollution and an increase in traffic as their main concerns.

Victor Gordon, Suffolk coastal district chairman for the Suffolk Preservation Society, said: "We are not against the plan in principal but we have a number of concerns.

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"We are worried about the implications for traffic in Melton, particularly at the crossroads and on the B1438. The roads in this area are already overloaded.

"Light pollution is also a concern. We support the Campaign for Rural England's quest to keep our skies dark, and to reduce light, not increase it."

Graham Laight, Melton parish council chairman, also expressed concerns about the size of the development and the impact on the access onto the B1438. He wants extra signs to direct visitors to use the A12 and to avoid Woods Lane and the Melton crossroads.

The county council's tourism department stressed that the hotel was in an area of high demand and it supported the principle of expansion.

The development will generate another 50 jobs and safeguard more than 100, and the owners say they have commissioned exhaustive research to address any concerns which may be raised including ecology traffic impact and landscaping.

A meeting of the South area development control sub-committee will be held tomorrow , where planners will be urged to visit the site before making their final decision in September or October.

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