Stowmarket: Mid Suffolk to vote on major jobs plan

Stowmarket looking north over the new bridge near the railway line Stowmarket looking north over the new bridge near the railway line

Matt Hunter matt.hunter@archant.co.uk
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
6:00 AM

Residents’ views on major proposals to build a site which could provide up to 3,000 jobs are being assessed.

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Mid Suffolk District Council is to meet on Monday where it is expected to accept the “development brief” for the Mill Lane site in Stowmarket.

The main issues raised during the public consultation included the earmarked timetable to develop the site, as well as traffic, heritage and environment impact concerns.

Council bosses said, following the feedback, the overall timescale for the development should be shortened to reduce disturbance to residents. It is “unlikely” there will be continuous construction on the site for 20 years, according to the council.

The site, which is off the A14, is near the large estate, Cedars Park. Fred Hillyer, president of Cedars Park Residents Association, has said the proposals could cause traffic “chaos” as hundreds more lorries could be using the town’s road network.

The roads around the proposed site can be busy with haulage traffic coming to-and-from the A14 and shoppers going to a nearby supermarket.

The association has also had concerns over the scale of the development, which would cover some 195 acres (79 hectares).

But about 97 acres (39.5 hectares) will be for business, the rest
being for infrastructure and landscaping.

Paul Munson, planning consultant for Mid Suffolk and Babergh district councils, said in the paper, which councillors will be analysing next week, that there needed to be “careful consideration” of the site’s road network.

“All types” of businesses, including start-up and existing will be able to base themselves at Mill Lane.

Last year the council said there was “serious” business interest in the site from an advanced manufacturing company. Council papers state how the site’s development will contribute “significantly” to Mid Suffolk’s priority to “lead and shape” the economy by promoting and helping to deliver “sustainable” economic growth.

Derrick Haley, leader of Mid Suffolk, has called the site “part of the growth agenda” and that the area has not had developers willing to invest for a “long time”.

There is a need to balance the growth in respect to wildlife, heritage and the natural and built environment, according to the council paper.

The development brief is required before any planning applications can be submitted.

A three-month period will be given to allow any High Court challenges to the plans once they have been approved.

The council will meet at its headquarters, in Needham Market, at 10am, on Monday.

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