Drop in business at Abbey View Lodges holiday park in Leiston leads to housing redevelopment

Concerns over impact on nearby Leiston Abbey

Concerns over impact on nearby Leiston Abbey - Credit: Archant

Proposals to redevelop a no-longer-profitable holiday park with housing are set to go ahead, despite objections from community leaders.

English Heritage had objected to the project at Abbey View Lodges in Leiston when it was for ten homes, but now that the scheme has been reduced to eight bungalows it has removed its opposition.

It had been concerned about the potential impact on nearby Leiston Abbey, some of the finest surviving monastic remains in Suffolk.

Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council though is maintaining its objection to the project and is urging planners to refuse permission.

The council said the development is contrary to policy and would have an unacceptable impact on the area, and the holiday lodges were important in supporting local tourism.

It said: “It is believed that they are even more important now and that more effort should be made in marketing and use made of the lodges.

“This application is speculative and must recognise that the emerging Neighbourhood Plan has made clear provision for a 15-year land supply around the town of which this site would be considered greenfield and countryside.

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“This is not supported at all and will be resisted.”

Officers at Suffolk Coastal though are satisfied that the holiday site is no longer viable and are recommending councillors approve the eight homes tomorrow.

A report to be considered by the north area development management sub committee says in 2013, turnover at the site in Abbey Road had dropped to £98,278, with gross profit of £82,711. After wages and deductions, net profit was just £940.

The owners had considered a range of options for the site but the replacement of the lodges with new ones would cost £50,000 each and even if this was done over a period of time it would not generate enough extra business to make it a worthwhile project.

Planning case officer Stephen Milligan said : “The development provides short term economic gain from construction and longer term value to the local economy from additional spending by residents in the local economy,.

“However, this is clearly off-set by the loss of spending by visitors using the holiday accommodation and the loss of local employment at the site.

“The application has been accompanied by the accounts of the business and it does appear that the combination of the scale of the site, need for significant investment and competition provided by nearby sites of greater scale, does show the economics of the site to marginal.”

There remained concern over the impact of development on the setting of Leiston Abbey and the town, but it was felt to be acceptable and a sustainable.