New homes set to get go-ahead

AT long last, moves to convert a hotel to six flats with 28 new homes in its grounds are today set to go ahead.Previously planning officers have recommended development of the £2.

AT long last, moves to convert a hotel to six flats with 28 new homes in its grounds are today set to go ahead.

Previously planning officers have recommended development of the £2.75 million Melton Grange should be rejected, despite widespread support from the community which does not want the site to remain empty and fall to bits.

Officers said the proposals from Chater Land Holdings Ltd were against policy and would affect the character of the area and its 300 trees.

But now the company has come back with revised plans which officers believe overcome many of their concerns for the old hotel – a grade 2 listed building – which is rapidly decaying and has been blighted by serious vandalism.

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The revised plans include affordable housing, a new footpath, and changes to a number of the proposed housing plots to make some larger, protect trees and create a more attractive development.

Some negotiations are still ongoing over items such as protection of other trees, further landscaping, the removal of permitted development rights for certain plots, particularly where they are close to trees, future management and maintenance of the open space, access and parking and building materials.

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Chater Holdings first had plans for housing at the 50-bedroom hotel in Pytches Road refused in 2003.

Other ideas under discussion have included the use of the hotel for a reality TV programme, a Transcendental Meditation Academy, a Rudolf Steiner private school, offices, a conference centre or a care or nursing home.

The demand for alternative uses was tested by the further marketing of the site. Some interest was generated and a number of enquiries made, but no offers other than for housing and flats were received.

Chater Holdings say their proposals are a "sensitive and appropriate approach" to development of the site, and Melton Parish Council and Woodbridge Town Council support the application.

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