July 22 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Final plans for the refurbishment of a former Victorian workhouse in east Suffolk were met with a generally positive reception during their public unveiling this week.
Flagship Housing invited Wickham Market residents to learn more about its Deben Court development before work begins next month.
The plans, which originally involved the demolition of the workhouse, when first submitted in 2010, have been radically altered to preserve the historic building.
Although there had been frustration over the time taken to progress the plans, many villagers attending Monday’s open day said they were pleased with the final proposals.
Suffolk Coastal District Council’s housing chief Doreen Savage said the designs looked “fantastic”.
“I’m delighted that Flagship are converting it so the original structure will remain,” she said. “It will make delightful homes for people and fulfil a very urgent need for affordable housing in the district.”
Nicole Gaunt, Flagship’s design and quality surveyor, said the 32-dwelling development, with 24 affordable homes, would be more sympathetic to the village character and better suited to customers’ needs than the previous proposal.
A Chapel Road resident, who did not give his name, said the undeveloped site had been an “eyesore” and he was pleased work would begin.
The project will be completed by Gipping Construction, which has pledged to “minimise disruption” during the year-long build.
However, Jema Huckstepp, a mother of two living near the development, said she remained concerned about access to her property during the construction period. And Gemma Muttitt, another mother living in the village, was also worried about the impact of new residents on the doctors’ surgery and school, which she felt were already over-stretched.