Village cafe and wool shop plan refused despite huge support

The cafe and wool store would be built on land in Kirton Road, Trimley St Martin

The cafe and wool store would be built on land in Kirton Road, Trimley St Martin - Credit: Google Street View

Plans for a new cafe and wool shop on the edge of a Suffolk village have been refused - despite more than 300 people backing the project.

East Suffolk Council planners say the scheme for Kirton Road, Trimley St Martin, is in the wrong place, and should be found a home in Felixstowe town centre, not the countryside.

Application case officer Grant Heal said: "The application does not meet the policy requirements for development in the countryside as the proposal would result in the siting of main town centre uses within an out of centre location and insufficient evidence has been received to demonstrate a lack of suitable alternative sites located either within or at the edge of the district's town centres."

There would be benefits - including short-term construction jobs, local employment opportunities with eight new jobs and community social/wellbeing - but these were not enough to go against policy.

Trimley St Martin Parish Council also objected, saying there was insufficient off-road parking and the site was just yards from Trimley St Martin Primary school. The demand for roadside parking at the start and end of the school day is considerable and any extra uses could cause danger to schoolchildren and their parents/carers.

The district council received 54 letters and petitions containing 247 signatures in support of the cafe, wool store and workshop.

A planning statement submitted to the council by Phil Cobbold Planning on behalf of the applicants said a town centre location would not be suitable as the cafe was designed to serve the local community.

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It said: "In this case, the proposal would fulfil the three objectives of sustainable development for the following reasons. Firstly, the proposal would fulfil the economic objective of sustainable development by providing local job opportunities.

"Secondly, the proposal would fulfil the social objective of sustainable development by providing a café where the local community could meet and in this respect the development will help to redress the problems of rural isolation for elderly and vulnerable members of the community.

"The proposal would also accord with the environmental objective of sustainable development. The site is within walking distance of local houses and has a footway connection to the centre of Trimley St Martin and Kirton. The site is also accessible by public transport."