By Emma Brennan
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
PART of a former factory site, which has been earmarked for 110 new homes, should be retained for commercial use, according to Sudbury’s planning committee.
The Guildford Performance Textiles factory in Radiator Road, Great Cornard, which supplied upholstery fabrics to the car industry, closed two years ago with the loss of 95 jobs.
The premises have been empty since then, and town and parish councillors have described the site as an “eyesore”.
Real estate firm ERLP2 Ltd has now applied to Babergh District Council for outline planning permission for 110 houses at the site. Sudbury Town Council’s planning committee met this week to discuss the application and decided that, while it was in favour of some homes being built there, it was anxious to keep part of the land for employment purposes.
Committee member Jack Owen said: “There is no doubt the area is an absolute mess at the moment and something needs to be done about it. But there are so many houses being built around here that I am worried about us losing so much employment land.
“It also then creates the problem of how we are going to encourage business into the area that is proper ‘manufacturing employment’ if we are selling off all of the appropriate land.”
Committee chairman Nigel Bennett said the new Chilton Woods development, which is planned for the outskirts of Sudbury, would include an area of industrial land.
But he said it could take up to 20 years for the building work to be completed. He added: “There will be a modern purpose-built business park in the new Chilton Woods development but we cannot guarantee when it will be delivered.
“The Radiator Road site is huge so it could easily accommodate both housing and employment.
“We also have to take into consideration that the former Armes factory site where Sainsbury’s has been built was originally meant to be for housing, so we lost a potential 120 houses on that site including 35% affordable housing. We could gain those back through this development, but I think we should be careful that we don’t set a precedent by allowing this former commercial site to be used entirely for housing.”
His colleague, Jan Osborne, added: “This proposal would give us an ideal opportunity to use a brownfield site and we definitely need housing in this area, especially affordable. We could get a very good outcome if we can get mixed used in there.”
Another councillor, John Sayers said he was concerned that the development could pose highways issues. He added: “I believe 110 new houses would have a big impact on traffic in the area.”