Brewery facelift backed by planners

INTRICATE design work will open up former brewery land to the general public for the first time in hundreds of years after planners backed a radical transformation last night.

INTRICATE design work will open up former brewery land to the general public for the first time in hundreds of years after planners backed a radical transformation last night.

Houses, shops, a new public square and café will all feature in the radical change in the centre of Southwold, replacing Adnams' distribution centre.

Tough conditions have been imposed on the development, which was put forward by the brewer and Hopkins Homes, before the nine-member panel agreed to back it.

But with a mixture of two, three and four-storey buildings, with narrow lanes running between them, it is hoped the new buildings will reflect the character of Southwold.

Members of Waveney District Council's rural area development control committee heard the developers have promised a £100,000 contribution to play equipment and school places in the area, as well as offering residents the use of shop car parking for free in the evenings.

Simon Loftus, presenting the plan, said he was pleased to be opening up the site, which had previously been the focal point of 80 lorry movements each day.

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“The site has been closed to the town for hundreds of years and we have brought new roadways and new footpaths,” he said.

A new road will run through the middle of the site.

Earlier, Southwold town councillor Peter Webb had objected to the plan, saying car parking facilities planned for residents in the flats were inadequate.

But a report on the plan said the intricate design work and “higgledy piggledy nature of the houses” reflected the character of the town, where houses and shops were crowded together.

Sue Allen, councillor for Southwold and Reydon, said: “It's a very imaginative, thoughtful and well-considered design.

“But I would like to see the architect give another effort to seeing if more car parking can be found somewhere.”

Wendy Mawer, the council's deputy leader, added: “I think we have rarely seen, as a committee, a more exciting scheme.”

The proposal was unanimously approved, subject to more work on the design of three storey houses, the replacement of the 'Splash' community building and the provision of car park spaces.

n Plans to extend the pavilion at Southwold Pier and turn the upper floors into flats were heavily criticised last night, but not refused.

Contentious proposals to add a second floor and build holiday apartments where a function room currently exists were criticised by several committee members, who complained about the loss of a community facility.

Councillors said they understood the restrictions of working with the current building, but said the applicant had “a lot of persuading to do” before the scheme could be approved.

The application was deferred to a later meeting.

n A scheme that could have seen a landmark block of flats built at the former filling station site on Mights Road in Southwold was refused last night.

Planners said that while they recognised the value of improving the entrance the town, the site in question was wrong for such a large project, which would include 21 two-bedroom apartments and a gymnasium, underground parking and three terraced houses on North Road.

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