Woodbridge: Revised plans for Whisstocks and Nunn’s Mill sites broadly welcomed by community

The Whisstocks boatyard site in Woodbridge

The Whisstocks boatyard site in Woodbridge - Credit: Archant

REVISED schemes for an £8m transformation of a derelict boatyard and neighbouring site are a “quantum jump” better than the previous proposals, it was claimed last night.

The plans for the Whisstocks and Nunn’s Mill areas of Woodbridge, which it is hoped will be submitted to Suffolk Coastal District Council next Friday, have been broadly welcomed.

The original schemes, drawn up by developers FW Properties, had faced some criticism, with Suffolk-based architecture critic for the Independent, Jay Merrick, describing them as unrefined and “standard issue”.

However he said the new designs were a “quantum-jump” better in terms of architectural sophistication. “The developer must be credited for significantly strengthening his design team,” he said. “The new scheme is much more refined in the way the buildings are set out, and in their fine details.

“The proposed mix of activities on the site will make this corner of Woodbridge much more distinctive, giving it a fresh pulling-power - and not just for locals. If built to a high quality standard, the outcome could be exemplary.”

The revised schemes have been drawn up following lengthy consultation with a number of local groups.

Malcolm Hodd, from Whisstocks CIC (Community Interest Company), which originally hoped to purchase the site, said FW Properties had shown a good deal of flexibility and listened to what people wanted.

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“We will be working with our legal advisors, the town council and the developer to ensure community interests are protected in perpetuity regardless of whom in the end owns the various freehold or leasehold properties on the site,” he continued. “This will be done through covenants built into the planning guarantees and individual leases which set out in detail the activities the community must always be allowed to use the site for, protected from unwarranted interference from residential or commercial interests forever.”

Neil Montgomery, chairman of planning for the Woodbridge Society, said he felt the revised plans were an improvement and they were broadly in favour as they offered more benefits to the town than any previous scheme. However he said there were still reservations over the massing and height of the proposed buildings, while it was also important to restrict the residential units to holiday use rather than permanent homes.

Peter Clay, from the Woodbridge and Melton Riverside Action Group, said they would form a response once the planning application had been submitted.

Speaking personally, he said it was clear FW Properties had taken account of people’s concerns, although he still had reservations over the size of the proposed developments.

The Whisstocks scheme is for four separate buildings – including a working boatshed and heritage building. There would also be a high class restaurant and another building for 14 holiday homes, a café, a bar and two shops. Central to this would be an outdoor space for community events. The Nunn’s Mill site will include seven town houses, four flats and two commercial units.

The boatshed and the heritage building would be donated to the community and held in perpetuity by Woodbridge Town Council.