Vision remains a mystery

A VISION of the future for Woodbridge will remain a mystery for the time being.The important master plan designed to map out the future of the prime riverside frontages in Woodbridge will not be available for a planning appeal on the future of the Whisstocks boatyard.

A VISION of the future for Woodbridge will remain a mystery for the time being.

The important master plan designed to map out the future of the prime riverside frontages in Woodbridge will not be available for a planning appeal on the future of the Whisstocks boatyard.

Inquiries made by Woodbridge Society revealed that Suffolk Coastal District Council had not made much progress with the promised development brief and the council has now admitted it would be "unrealistic" to expect the document to be ready for next month.

This is when a Government planning inspector will hold an inquiry into the council's refusal of permission for a housing development by Michael Howard Homes for the boatyard close to the Tide Mill.


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This means the inspector will have to refer to an outdated Local Plan, which says that the site should be used for small-scale business uses or leisure/recreational uses only. Proposals affecting the amenity and environment of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty would be refused.

The Local Plan is going to be updated but the inspector will not have the benefit of the new Local Plan or a master plan.

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Woodbridge Society's meeting on Whisstocks was told by Eddie Taylor, the Society's planning expert: "We were urging the district council to bring forward a master plan for the waterfront area. We learnt that the district council were going to put a document out in the summer, but by the end of August little work had been done."

Possible areas for inclusion could include the former gas works site. This vacant piece of land close to the railway line is for sale and under offer. It is believed that a housebuilder could be keen on this site depending on the outcome of the planning inquiry.

A district council spokesman said: "With regards to the Woodbridge riverside, a decision was made to prepare a planning brief for the future development of the site before the submission of the application that is now the subject of an appeal. The preparation of the brief is a major exercise in that it must include issues relating to land use as well as design considerations.

"The precise scope of the brief has still to be finalised but it will certainly include the principal river frontages where there are development opportunities as well as employment sides on the non-river side of the railway line.

"An essential piece of background work to the planning brief is the completion of an Urban Capacity Study of the development opportunities in Woodbridge, together with an assessment of land allocated in the current Local Plan for employment purposes."

He said the draft planning brief needed the collection of data, consideration of issues and consultation with key interested parties and therefore it was unlikely it would be ready for the inquiry.

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