Mayor's warning on garden centre plan

By Richard SmithONE of a town's most beautiful vistas was in danger of being spoilt by a huge development at a garden centre, its mayor has warned.Neil Montgomery said the proposal by Notcutts for its garden centre in Woodbridge would harm the outlook enjoyed by so many people as they drove into the town.

By Richard Smith

ONE of a town's most beautiful vistas was in danger of being spoilt by a huge development at a garden centre, its mayor has warned.

Neil Montgomery said the proposal by Notcutts for its garden centre in Woodbridge would harm the outlook enjoyed by so many people as they drove into the town.

Mr Montgomery, the Mayor of Woodbridge, painted an idyllic picture at a meeting last night of the garden centre setting with a stream against the backdrop of St Mary's church.


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But he warned the proposed development of housing, a medical centre and sheltered housing would alter it forever.

Mr Montgomery said there were benefits to be gained from the development, including an enlarged garden centre, a modern health centre and affordable housing.

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But he felt it would be a great mistake if the “absolute treasure” of the parkland setting was sacrificed for a new development. “It is a huge application with massive implications for the town,” said Mr Montgomery.

He was speaking at Woodbridge Town Council's planning committee, where the multi-million-pound plan by Notcutts for its Ipswich Road site was overwhelmingly rejected on the grounds it did not adhere to the Local Plan.

Mr Montgomery stressed there were positive benefits and said: “Notcutts provides quite a lot of employment, wealth, tourism and visitors. The enterprise is a considerable benefit to the town.”

Julian Illman, an Ipswich Road resident, said there was a great opportunity for Notcutts to produce a showcase development to be admired by other places. He added the Notcutt family had an ideal chance to provide a development of “genuine beauty rather than genuine ugliness”.

Other residents warned the viability of Woodbridge town centre was at risk because people would use the revamped Notcutts site as a “one-stop shop” and would avoid the other stores.

Speaking after the meeting, William Notcutt, group managing director, said departures were allowed from the Local Plan if there was a significant benefit to be had.

He hoped a medical centre would meet that criteria. Suffolk Coastal District Council will make a final decision within a few months.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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