Protest at railway shed housing bid

CONSERVATIONISTS are objecting to the conversion of an old railway goods shed into homes, offices and a restaurant – and want taxpayers' cash used to buy it instead.

CONSERVATIONISTS are objecting to the conversion of an old railway goods shed into homes, offices and a restaurant – and want taxpayers' cash used to buy it instead.

The Woodbridge Society is calling for the riverside site to be compulsory purchased by Suffolk Coastal council to create a public transport interchange.

It says the inclusion of homes is "regrettable and is directly against the society's established policy to discourage further residential development along the east side of Station Road, Quay Side and the river".

Millcard Ltd has applied for permission to use the Victorian former locomotive shed – until recently storage and offices for WR Refrigeration – as offices, restaurant, five flats and a wholesale warehouse.

A vehicle link would also be created between the Station Car Park and Community Centre Car Park.

Earlier this year the district council approved a proposal to provide a skateboard park at the rear of the Deben Pool building on part of the site used as a coach park and recycling centre.

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The plans come before the south area development control sub committee on Thursday and councillors are recommended to approve.

But the Woodbridge Society said: "We are very conscious that the immediate neighbouring properties to this site on the river side of Station Road serve as public amenity buildings and the society regrets that the opportunity has not been taken by the district council to purchase the site with a view to a longer term development of the Station courtyard incorporating a public transport interchange which would also assist to raise the standard of the environment as stated in policy."

A report by planning officers said the applicants had been asked to make some amendments to the plans to make the proposed design less grand and reflect the existing character of the goods shed.

They had also been asked to reduce the size of the rear extension.

The creation of a link between car parks was considered to be a significant planning benefit to help reduce car movements and congestion caused by vehicles moving from one to the other, especial when Station Car Park is full.

The project would retain and increase the opportunity for employment, and was in line with government advice to encourage mixed use developments with flats above commercial developments.

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