Inquiry set for riverside project

A PUBLIC inquiry is to be held into part of a £5 million project set to change the face of one of the best-known areas of a picturesque Suffolk riverside town.

A PUBLIC inquiry is to be held into part of a £5 million project set to change the face of one of the best-known areas of a picturesque Suffolk riverside town.

Redevelopment of the Notcutts site in the centre of Woodbridge has been agreed in principle and work is already under way on a new medical centre.

However, one of the critical elements - 75 sheltered apartments - looks set to be delayed by a year or more.

McCarthy and Stone (Devs) Ltd and Notcutts Ltd have applied for detailed permission for the flats but because Suffolk Coastal failed to make a decision fast enough - it should have decided the scheme seven months ago - the firms have appealed to the government.

Now there will be a public inquiry, though no date has yet been fixed.

It also means the council cannot now formally determine the scheme - even if it wanted to - though officers would have recommended refusal in any case.

Most Read

Officers felt the apartments' design would not have preserved or enhanced the conservation area, and would have harmed the nearby cemetery, which is included on the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

Both the Woodbridge Society and Suffolk Preservation Society have serious concerns and objections over the design.

The Woodbridge Society said the scale of the buildings was “overpowering and not in keeping with design of the medical centre” and the increase in numbers of flats “a step too far”.

SPS likened the design to “a slightly modified Travelodge or Holiday Inn” which has more in common with the company's corporate and national identity and design rather than being either respectful of or in harmony with Suffolk or Woodbridge.

McCarthy and Stone said all its developments are specifically designed to provide specialised housing accommodation for the elderly.

A company statement said: “It provides comfort and security for the elderly and enables them to manage independently to a greater extent, to remain living in the community and out of institutions.

“It can also help release existing under-occupied housing and thereby helps make better use of the housing stock in general.”

The redevelopment of the six-hectare Notcutts site in Ipswich Road will also include 28 open market flats with nine affordable flats, and an expansion of the garden centre.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

What do you think of the redevelopment of the site - is too much going on the land? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter