Sudbury: County vows to advance 1,050-home development at Chilton Woods
PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 January 2014 | UPDATED: 10:46 07 January 2014
The county council has pledged to push forward with plans for a 1,050-home development north of Sudbury, which has been in the pipeline for more than a decade.
The 270-acre Chilton Woods scheme is seen as one of Suffolk’s key sites for delivering much-needed additional housing and employment over the next 20 years.
But the proposal, which would include 74 hectares for community facilities, a new school and around 30 hectares of employment land, has been beset with delays.
Suffolk County Council was left without a development partner when Redrow Homes pulled out of the project last spring because of the escalating cost of providing electricity to the site. Their previous development partner, Ashwells, went into receivership.
A spokesman for the authority told the EADT they are currently in the process of tendering for consultants to draw up the masterplan and planning application for the site, which are expected to be in place by the end of January. A public consultation will then follow.
The county, which is the site’s major landowner, has now resolved to invest £1.6million to get Chilton Woods back on track. Colin Noble, the council’s cabinet member for finance and property, said: “The Chilton Woods development remains an important scheme for Suffolk which is why it is included in the county’s growth strategy.
“There is currently some welcome interest in the site, particularly from businesses considering relocating in this part of Suffolk. If planning permission is secured, some of the risks could be reduced and this should create greater interest from developers.
“The scheme needs to be realistic but reflect the wishes of the local community, as well as the expectations of the landowners.”
Sudbury mayor Adrian Osborne said it was “good news” that the county council was moving quickly on the plans.
He said: “The Government planning inspector looking at Babergh District Council’s core strategy made it clear that Suffolk County Council needed to get on with this (Chilton Woods) as soon as possible.
“The new master plan will have to go out for consultation and it is imperative that this happens soon. We have been in this position twice before and we can’t afford to hang around for another five years. Chilton Woods is the only part of Sudbury that could take such a large-scale development without it impacting on other issues like public open space.”
Mr Osborne said local people were keen to retain the “community benefits” included in the most recent development proposal.
Peter Thorogood, chairman of the Sudbury Society, said the group was concerned about the lack of public services to back the level of development proposed for Sudbury area.
He said: “This is a historic market town that in the past 20 years has lost its court and its hospitals; it no longer has a full-time police station and only has a retained fire service.
“Moves to sell the town’s school buildings have also been short-sighted because we are definitely going to need them with all of the new houses planned in this area.
“The town centre is already groaning under the weight of the through traffic and we believe with all the planned development, a bypass will be needed more than ever.”