Fury as controversial plans approved

PLANNERS have been severely criticised for making a highly controversial and ''disturbing'' decision to go against strong public opinion and allow an old gas works site to be turned into a high density residential development.

PLANNERS have been severely criticised for making a highly controversial and ''disturbing'' decision to go against strong public opinion and allow an old gas works site to be turned into a high density residential development.

Suffolk Coastal District Council has granted permission for 13 flats and two office units in Quayside, Woodbridge, despite wide-ranging opposition on a number of issues.

They include criticisms that the development lacked social housing and enough business units and it would generate too much extra traffic on an already congested main road.

The Woodbridge Society has devoted the front page of its autumn newsletter, which will be read by hundreds of residents, to the controversial issue.


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Tony Hubbard, chairman of the society, wrote: ''This decision appears inexplicable. It not only contravenes the Local Plan, but also disregards the almost unanimous objections raised within the community.

He said objections were lodged by Woodbridge Town Council, Suffolk Preservation Society, the chamber of commerce, the Riverside Action Group, the head of health at Suffolk County Council and a local district councillor.

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"In contrast, only one letter of support was received. Officers nevertheless recommended to the committee that it should approve the application.

''This makes an utter nonsense of the so-called consultation with local bodies called for by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The consultation process appears to have been a waste of time."

The district council said it wanted to achieve a ''sense of enclosure and townscape'' that existed before the new road on Quayside was built which consisted of a mixture of cottage-style housing and small warehousing/workshops by the former unmade road. It said the level of employment generated by the new scheme equalled the original development.

Ivan Jowers, chairman of the development control sub committee, said: ''I can assure the public that the committee considers all representations, together with the district plan and government recommendations. Having weighed up all the evidence, on this issue the committee voted eight to one in favour of approving the scheme which is not an insubstantial majority.''

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