Arcade demolition backed by councillors

PLANS to demolish a shopping arcade on the edge of a troubled housing estate and replace it with a mulit-million pound development have received initial backing from councillors.

PLANS to demolish a shopping arcade on the edge of a troubled housing estate and replace it with a mulit-million pound development have received initial backing from councillors.

Babergh District Council's strategy committee yesterday approved in principle plans to knock down the run down Poplar Road shops in Great Cornard, and the flats above them, to allow for a massive regeneration scheme.

In recent years the area has suffered a number of problems with crime, vandalism, litter and anti-social behaviour and a recent survey revealed that nearly half the residents living in the area were to afraid to leave their homes at night.

The shops were built in the 1970s, but in recent years the area has deteriorated.

Some of the shops are empty and councillors and residents in Great Cornard say there is no longer an appropriate blend of outlets.

The ageing flats above the shops are now deemed outdated and the entrance to them has been subjected to continued vandalism and has attracted groups of unruly youths.

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It is envisaged the redevelopment of the area would include new shops designed for existing tenants with a number of small commercial office units above them. It is also proposed that a greater number of one-bedroom flats and two and three bedroom houses could be built on the site, along with a new community building.

Although the plans have received initial backing, they are still in the very early stages and more works needs to be done before they get final approval.

Work will now be carried out to decide the design and mix of the shops and homes and the exact costing of the project. That will be followed by a lengthy consultation period before the final designs are drawn up.

Strategy committee member Tony Bavington, who is also chairman of the Poplar Road Regeneration Group, said: "We would like to see the site planned in an imaginative way to design out the crime and insecurity. We would certainly be in favour of phasing the work for the sake of the existing business and to minimise disruptions. It is also important that we consult the people who use the shops."

If the multi-million pound scheme get the go ahead it would be funded from a range of sources, including Babergh District Council, a housing association and the Sudbury and Great Cornard Energy Project.

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