August 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Developers of a riverside regeneration project promise to be on site before the end of the year - if planning chiefs allow the sale of properties originally intended as holiday homes.
Last August, Suffolk Coastal allowed Whisstocks boatyard, in Woodbridge, to be transformed into a mixed-use development, including holiday lets, retail space, a restaurant and heritage attractions. Nearby Nunn’s Mill also got the go-ahead for housing.
The project is set to revitalise the area around the historic Tide Mill - but rising costs have led developers, FW Properties, to call for a revised deal, allowing 14 properties at Whisstocks - originally intended as holiday homes - to be sold as permanent residences.
Should the application be approved, a contractor will be appointed within six months for work to begin later this year - with both schemes set to be complete by the end of 2015.
Julian Wells, director at FW Properties, said: “We have been hit by a number of costs over the last months, putting pressure on the viability of the original proposal and delivery of the scheme.
“Selling the homes will provide us with greater value to cover costs. It will enable the scheme to be developed. It will provide a proper living community and a sense of local ownership.”
Following December’s tidal surge, the Environment Agency revised requirements for a flood gate partition at the Whisstocks site.
Mr Wells said selling the homes could facilitate architect Paul Weston’s revised floodgate, help cover additional fees for surface water drainage and decontamination works, and overcome VAT costs arising from the potential development of new-build holiday homes.
Plans otherwise remain the same, with a heritage building set to become the new home of Woodbridge Museum, and another building designed for heritage boat building and the eventual construction of a full size replica of the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon ship.
Malcolm Hodd, who led the Whisstocks Project to rescue the site from dereliction, hopes the area will serve as a heritage hub, linking the Tide Mill, the boat shed and museum.
Pete Clay, chairman of the Woodbridge Riverside Trust and head of the Anglo-Saxon ship project, said:
“Although we have always been concerned about degradation of the riverside through residential development, we believe Whisstocks is different because of the community benefits.”
Geoff Holdcroft, district councillor for Woodbridge Riverside, who shared his desire to see all properties at Whisstocks made residential at last August’s decisive planning meeting, said: “I’m on record welcoming permanent residences and I stand by that - although I accept there is debate to be had about whether permanent residences will attract second home owners or permanent residents.
“This is about making the waterfront a viable and attractive place. The trouble with holiday homes is letting them in the winter. I don’t want to see it become a seasonal site.”