Cornhill centre plans turned down
- Credit: PWP ARCHIECTS
A scheme to re-develop the former Cornhill Walk shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds with shops, a 24 hour gym and flats have been thrown out.
Knightspur Homes wanted to demolish the old centre in Brentgovel Street and create a new building housing shops and leisure facilities on the ground floor and 48 flats on the upper levels.
The plans had been recommended for approval by West Suffolk Council's planning committee today, Wednesday September 4, but councillors turned them down.
A council spokesman said: "The application for Cornhill Walk was refused on the grounds that its size and massing would appear dominant and overbearing, failing to enhance the appearance of the conservation area and resulting in the loss of residential amenity."
Knighstpur director Peter Murphy said he planned to appeal against the decision.
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"I don't think the committee will approve anything on that site. They don't know what they want and they don't like what is already there," he said.
"It's very frustrating as it's costing us a lot of money to have the building just sitting empty.
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"I intend to appeal - leaving it to an independent planning inspector to decide might just see us get a sensible answer."
The proposals had previously been deferred from the spring by the committee because of design issues.
The centre is in the Bury St Edmunds conservation area and is on the site of the former Odeon cinema, which opened in 1937 and was demolished in 1983.
Cornhill Walk centre opened in 1986 and contained 11 retail units but it closed in 2017.
Knightspur said their plans for the centre were compatible with the conservation area, and the application was supported by the council's conservation officer and Historic England.
But opponents included Bury Town Council and Suffolk Preservation Society.
The council had concerns including traffic and lack of parking, while the society said the proposed building was too big and its mock-Georgian facade would have an unacceptable impact on nearby Moyses Hall.
The application also saw 82 objections from local residents, the Well Street Association and Nelson Road Residents Association.