Riverside homes appeal

LUXURY house builders have refused to admit defeat with their ambitious scheme to redevelop a prime riverside frontage in Woodbridge.Michael Howard Homes has appealed after Suffolk Coastal District Council refused an application to demolish the Whisstocks boatyard and build offices and 13 properties overlooking the River Deben.

LUXURY house builders have refused to admit defeat with their ambitious scheme to redevelop a prime riverside frontage in Woodbridge.

Michael Howard Homes has appealed after Suffolk Coastal District Council refused an application to demolish the Whisstocks boatyard and build offices and 13 properties overlooking the River Deben.

The company has revealed it has submitted a revised application for the important side close to the Grade I listed Tide Mill and Grade II listed Granary buildings.

This plan takes into account objections raised to the first scheme. The builders have produced a more open development with more space and pushed it back from the river to leave landscaping in front. In addition they have reduced the height of the main buildings by one floor.

They are no longer styling the properties as a Customs House or a Merchant House after the town council complained that the designs were ''bogus'' and did not truly reflect on the town's riverside history.

The houses will reflect, ''the waterside and semi-industrial character at this important location,'' said company spokesman Nick Corke. He added that he was unable to give a selling price for them.

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Mr Corke said the company understood how sensitive the site was in Woodbridge and it had done its best to please the majority of people. But the company still maintained that there was not a need in Woodbridge for more employment space.

The latest figures on industrial and office space for Woodbridge, Rendlesham, Melton and Martlesham show there is 360,000sq ft of unoccupied buildings. The new plan does show a few offices, which the developers believe could be used for home working or start-up businesses.

''The lack of demand for commercial floor space is supported by the fact that the current buildings on the site are falling into disrepair because continued commercial use is not viable,'' said Mr Corke.

Access will be via an open crossing over the railway line. Mr Corke claimed traffic generated by the new development would be small compared with the district council's aim of turning all Whisstocks into an employment site, and the amount of people using the proposed ferry to visit the National Trust's Sutton Hoo property.

The Woodbridge Society, in objecting to the first plan, said the company had missed an opportunity to add small scale businesses, shops, cafe, public toilet, a maritime museum or a new home for the town museum and the development was ''sterile and isolated.''

Mr Corke said they did not want to compete with shops or pubs in the town, bring in motorists or add uses that could lead to late-night disturbances.

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