Key waterfront site to get new owner

ONE of the most prestigious waterfront locations in Suffolk is on the brink of being sold to a London developer, it has emerged.A deal is set to be struck within the next few weeks for the sale of the redundant Whisstocks boatyard site, close to the famous Tide Mill in Woodbridge.

By Richard Smith

ONE of the most prestigious waterfront locations in Suffolk is on the brink of being sold to a London developer, it has emerged.

A deal is set to be struck within the next few weeks for the sale of the redundant Whisstocks boatyard site, close to the famous Tide Mill in Woodbridge.

It has not yet been revealed what is planned for the key location, but it is understood the new developer is "sensitive" to its history. A bid to build luxury homes there has been rejected in the past.


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Martin Whitaker, riverside project consultant, has met the prospective purchaser and his agent. He said: "There are some very interesting ideas and he is sensitive to the history of the site and to the area."

The prospective buyer has been named as Stephen van Treen, of London, who has an agent in the City. They have been unavailable for comment.

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The current owner, Jon Marks, bought the land for £270,000 when the boatyard closed more than 10 years ago. In 1995 the land had a price tag of £340,000 and now it is estimated that it is worth more than £2m for residential use.

A short announcement was made at a Woodbridge Town Council meeting about the sale, and contracts have been exchanged.

It is understood the developer is keen to take the views of the town's residents and organisations to produce a development that fits in with aspirations for the future of Whisstocks.

Mr van Treen has been involved in interesting mixtures of social housing, living/work units and community projects.

The future of the boatyard forms part of the Woodbridge and Melton Riverside Action Plan currently being drawn up by Mr Whitaker and other people.

The boatyard became vacant in 1991 when Whisstocks went into liquidation with the loss of more than 30 jobs. Recently the largest boat shed was used for the restoration of the 87ft long vessel Ginger Dot.

A plan to use the boatyard for luxury housing by Michael Howard Homes of Dedham was refused permission by a Government inspector in January last year after an appeal.

The most recent planning application was for the renewal of existing planning consent for the partial redevelopment of the boatyard for office, catering and retail uses. But the application by Mr Marks was withdrawn.

Several people had expressed an interest in buying the site and proposals under discussion in recent months have included a hotel and a pub.

The site is currently being used by Anglian Water as a headquarters for a multi-million pound project to build storm water tanks in the town.

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