Henham: Estate redevelopment stalled

Proposals to transform a Suffolk country estate, which have stalled because of the recession, should be granted extra time, planning officers have recommended.

Outline planning permission for a new hotel and apartment complex to replace halls that are no longer standing at Henham Estate, near Beccles, was granted in 2007, but the economic downturn has hindered progress of the multi-million pound scheme.

The estate, which has been owned by the Rous family for 500 years, has become well-known for hosting the Latitude music and arts festival, Grand Henham Steam Rally and Wings and Wheels event.

Hektor Rous, estate manager and son of the sixth Earl of Stradbroke, who lives in Australia, is spearheading the plans and wants to increase tourism and employment in the area.

Mr Rous’s father, Keith, is seeking an extension of time to the planning permission from Waveney District Council.

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As well as the hotel and apartment complex, other features proposed include associated caf�s and restaurants, business and conference facilities, beauty spa and fitness facilities, a function room for weddings and lectures, an auditorium for the provision of theatre, music and cinema and sporting facilities including a pool, tennis courts and equestrian facilities.

The application is due to be discussed at a meeting of the district council’s development control committee on Tuesday.

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In a letter of support for the project, Keith Rous says: “I strongly believe that the council was right to support our application and that the argument for the type of tourism and accommodation detailed in our application will help drive growth and jobs in this area in the future.”

Planning officers have recommended that outline planning permission be granted, subject to similar conditions as were previously imposed, but with a five-year period for the submission of reserved matters.

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