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Construction starts on riverside regeneration in Woodbridge

08:00 19 March 2016

Work starts on the Whisstocks site in Woodbridge with Julian Wells, director of FW Properties, (L to R) who is leading the project, town councillor Kay Yule and James Wilson, director at RG Carter construction on site to mark the occasion.

Work starts on the Whisstocks site in Woodbridge with Julian Wells, director of FW Properties, (L to R) who is leading the project, town councillor Kay Yule and James Wilson, director at RG Carter construction on site to mark the occasion.

It took the best part of four years to get off the ground, but construction work is now officially under way on a Suffolk town’s multimillion pound riverside regeneration project.

A new chapter in the history of Woodbridge began yesterday after contractors were given the all clear to start work on transforming two derelict industrial sites into apartments, townhouses, restaurants, shops and community buildings.

Bulldozers moved in to begin demolition almost a year ago to the day, but developers came up against a number of adverse planning issues – the last of which was resolved with the district council this week.

Norwich-based property firm, FW Properties now expects work to be complete by spring next year, when the ribbon will be cut on a £10million development of 15 apartments overlooking the River Deben, 6,700 square feet of commercial space and a stand-alone two-storey restaurant overlooking the river and historic Tide Mill.

A community boatshed building will be handed over to the town council for construction of a replica Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon burial ship by the Woodbridge Riverside Trust (WRT), while a heritage building will become the new home of Woodbridge Museum.

History of the project

Guaranteeing the boatyard’s future as a largely public space with facilities for visitors and tourists was one of the main objective’s of the Whisstocks Project – set up by the Woodbridge Riverside Trust (WRT).

The trust was formed in November 2008 from members of Woodbridge and Melton Riverside Action Group (WAMRAG) and the committee of Maritime Woodbridge.

It followed the sale of the boatyard and Nunns Mill sit to Whisstocks Developments Ltd, which submitted plans commissioned by FW Properties to include a community boat shed that will be used to build a working replica of the Sutton Hoo ship, a heritage building for Woodbridge Museum and an outdoor space for community events.

At the nearby former Nunn’s Mill factory site, seven townhouses and four apartments will be built, along with 1,500 sq ft of ground floor commercial accommodation opening onto Quayside.

There will also be a new public space directly beside the river at the heart of the scheme, which will host a range of events and activities once completed.

Julian Wells, director at FW Properties, said: “The homes and commercial space being created at Whisstocks are exceptional.

“Underpinned by heritage and designed for the modern world, the development is set to become a focal point for locals and visitors to the town.”

Final piece of planning puzzle

On Wednesday, developers won permission from Suffolk Coastal to add an apartment to the first floor of the building previously approved entirely as a restaurant.

FW Properties said the change would help balance the extra cost of removing contaminants from nearby Nunn’s Mill, which also got consent in August 2013.

They had wanted to use the first floor of the Chandlery restaurant for two apartments. But, following local objection, an amended application was made for just one apartment – overlooking Tide Mill Way and preserving the restaurant’s riverfront views. Meanwhile, two of the homes to be built at Nunn’s Mill will become duplex apartments.

Kay Yule, Riverside ward town councillor, said: “The Whisstocks development is a significant regeneration project for Woodbridge that we are very excited to see taking shape.

“The two community buildings that are being provided – the Woodbridge Museum and the Longshed – combined with the attractive new public space at Whisstocks, make this a really exciting and significant project for the whole community, as well as visitors from further afield.”

James Wilson, director construction firm at RG Carter, said: “With a significant base in Suffolk ourselves, we’re delighted to be part of the team bringing Whisstocks at Woodbridge to life.

“We are always very proud to undertake local projects and we are looking forward to working with the team to deliver a successful project.”

To find out more about commercial tenancy opportunities at Whisstocks, contact Penn Commercial on 01473 211 933 or Gilbert Bath on 020 7636 2494. For all residential enquiries, contact Savills on 01473 234 800.

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