New hotel for boatyard site

A HOTEL and a pub feature among plans being drawn up by developers wishing to redevelop a prestigious waterfront site.The future of the redundant Whisstocks boatyard, close to Woodbridge Tide Mill, is under discussion following a planning inspector's decision to turn down luxury housing proposed by Michael Howard Homes on the site by the River Deben.

A HOTEL and a pub feature among plans being drawn up by developers wishing to redevelop a prestigious waterfront site.

The future of the redundant Whisstocks boatyard, close to Woodbridge Tide Mill, is under discussion following a planning inspector's decision to turn down luxury housing proposed by Michael Howard Homes on the site by the River Deben.

The boatyard remains empty and for sale but the owner, Jon Marks, said: "There are several people trying to buy it and have made offers to buy it and there are negotiations with a number of parties.

"People contacted me all the time that Howard Homes had an option to purchase. They waited in the wings until the appeal ruling and the option expired and several parties came along and discussed various ways of moving forward with offers and contracts."

Mr Marks said a pub and hotel were among prospective plans and there had been a lot of ideas expressed about the boatyard.

He bought the land for £270,000 when the boatyard was placed in receivership in the early 1990s. A recent public inquiry into the housing scheme was told that a "well established leisure and brewing group" was interested in Whisstocks.

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Suffolk Coastal District Council will discuss the future of Whisstocks and other riverside frontages with interested parties. The council and the Woodbridge and Melton Market Towns Initiative Partnership will pay for a Woodbridge Riverside Project Manager to work on a development brief.

The riverside area of Woodbridge is considered a high priority by many people and there is a £17,000 budget for a 22-week contract of 17 hours a week.

A council spokesman said: "To help Woodbridge make the most of the opportunities on offer from its unique riverside area, work should have started by early September on drawing up a development brief and action plan, taking in the Tide Mill and Whisstocks boatyard.

"This is a major project which will help set out the future for part of the Woodbridge riverside. Suffolk Coastal's Local Plan policies protect the Lime Kiln Quay and Ferry Quay areas for river-related commercial and leisure and recreational activities."

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