Great Cornard: �6m shops and flats plan is unveiled

THE first phase of a �6million project to revitalise a run-down residential and commercial area in west Suffolk has been unveiled.

Six new shops and 21 flats in Poplar Road, Great Cornard – in a development named Applegate Mews – have now been completed.

The buildings replace the original Poplar Road shops, which were built in the 1970s and had become shabby and outdated.

The regeneration scheme is a partnership between non-profit housing group Flagship, Babergh District Council, North Cornard Regeneration Group and Great Cornard Parish Council.

The project also received �1.6m funding from the Homes and Communities Agency.

When complete, it will comprise 44 affordable homes and six shops, built to address the long-term sustainability of the community. The first phase includes 12 one-bedroom flats and nine two-bedroom flats. The second phase is due for completion next summer.

Sue Wigglesworth, chairman of Babergh council’s housing panel, said the first phase of the redevelopment was a “real boost” to the area.

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“The former Poplar Road shops and flats were outdated and not fit-for-purpose for today’s families, so this redevelopment is a much-needed and wanted change,” she said. “We hope the homes and new shops will help breathe life and vitality back into the community here.”

The development is named in honour of former parish clerk Gill Applegate, who died in December 2009. She had served in the role for 14 years, and at an official ribbon-cutting ceremony her daughter Merri Applegate said her mother would “not be able to believe” the changes that had taken place in the area. She added: “Mum dedicated a lot of time but, more importantly, her heart and soul into the local community and this certainly leaves a legacy that recognises and gives thanks for her contribution.”

Planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of the Poplar Road shops in November 2004. The site was transferred to Suffolk Heritage Housing Association in 2009 and work started on site in 2010.