Why decision on Martlesham Heath 41 retirement flats has been pushed back

An artists' impression of the proposed new complex in Martlesham Picture: FEILDEN AND MAWSON

An artists' impression of the proposed new complex in Martlesham Picture: FEILDEN AND MAWSON - Credit: Archant

A decision on plans to build 41 retirement homes close to Martlesham Heath village green has been deferred so that councillors can undertake a site visit.

McCarthy and Stone Retirement Lifestyles Ltd lodged plans to build 41 flats - 29 one bedroom and 12 two-bedroom - as well as a new public car park on land close to The Square, near the GP surgery and Douglas Bader pub.

While the proposal had been met with objections by Martlesham Parish Council and 30 members of the community, officers at East Suffolk Council had recommended Tuesday's planning south committee grant approval.

However, councillors unanimously voted to defer such a decision until after a site visit had been carried out.

Martlesham ward councillor Chris Blundell said: "It will result in the loss of a much-used piece of land used by the whole community.

"I would like to see all members fully understand it by making a visit to the site to really appreciate what's involved."

A date for that site visit or when the application may return to the community for a decision have not yet been confirmed.

The plans, first unveiled in February last year, proposed to develop the current 69-space car park to the east of Martlesham Heath Surgery, and establish a new 43-space car park on the last remaining section of the main runway from the former RAF Martlesham Heath complex next to the Douglas Bader pub.

Planning officers said it was "within the settlement boundary of Martlesham Heath and within close proximity to the village centre," and "meets the growing demands of an ageing population".

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The report added that it would "unlock this brownfield site for development, resulting in an improved utilisation of the land to the benefit of the street scene and its immediate setting".

McCarthy and Stone in its application said: "The development proposal provides much sought-after over 55s accommodation in a key location within Martlesham Heath village centre."

Martlesham Parish Council however said that while it welcomed the principle of retirement homes, it couldn't support proposals in their current guise as "the structure is excessively dominating and inappropriate in scale and design given its location on a tightly constrained site between existing houses".

Significant public interest in the site means it will be determined by councillors publicly and not by planning officers.

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