Mid Suffolk council to pursue plans for former Needham Market HQ to become 98 homes and store
PUBLISHED: 17:12 22 June 2018 | UPDATED: 18:02 22 June 2018
Former council offices in Needham Market which were vacated last autumn are set to be transformed into 98 homes.
Mid Suffolk District Council left the space in High Street last October, when it joined with Babergh District Council in moving to Ipswich’s Endeavour House.
A dedicated team has been working since April last year to develop options for the future of the site, which included the potential for offices, homes, community space, a care home and shops.
Three options were put forward to the Mid Suffolk council meeting on Thursday night, with the council unanimously approving a mixed residential and retail proposal.
It means that once signed off by cabinet in July, work will be pursued to transform the 5.5 acre site into 98 homes and one retail unit, with a formal planning application now set to be developed.
The proposals aim to develop homes as environmentally friendly as possible, with solar panels and electric charging points being discussed.
Mid Suffolk council leader Nick Gowrley said: “I look forward to the council developing this flagship, high quality proposal in a timely fashion, providing much needed homes for our residents and encouraging prosperity in our market town.”
Discussions had included the potential for a care home, but was ruled out.
Peter Buist from architects Purcell said: “It was considered and ruled out.
“It included looking at operators from a nursing home level to care and assisted living and that type of retirement provision.
“My understanding from that work is there is very little interest in the market.”
A pair of public exhibitions were held in April where 274 people attended, while 172 responses during that time resulted in nearly half (45%) stating they were not in favour in principle of the vacant site for residential use.
The report confirmed that the historic walls and memorial trees will be retained, while the housing provision will be a mix of one, two and three bed apartments and two, three and four bedroom houses.