Public views sought on bid to convert Park Farm gravel pits into leisure facilities

Aerial view of Park Farm former gravel quarry near Ingham after work to restore it as a green space

Aerial view of Park Farm former gravel quarry near Ingham after work to restore it as a green space has been carried out. - Credit: Archant

Plans to convert gravel pits on the edge of Bury St Edmunds into public lakes and leisure facilities are out for consultation.

The draft masterplan for Park Farm, between Fornham St Martin and Ingham, would see a farm shop, caravan park, fishing lakes, bike routes, walks and other leisure facilities created on the 212 acre site.

The site is a former gravel quarry operated by Tarmac. It was granted planning permission in 1988 on the contingency it would be restored as green space. It operated for over a decade, producing around 200,000 tonnes of sand and gravel a year.

The land, owned by the Stennett family, has now been restored, leaving three lakes, arable farming land, woodland and grassland.

Now, St Edmundsbury Borough Council are holding a public consultation on the future of the site, which has been allocated for leisure use in their Local Plan, Vision 2031.


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The consultation document presents several ideas for the site, which has been divided into Phase 1, Phase 1a and Phase 2.

The draft masterplan identifies several potential uses across the site, which sits to the west of the A143, including holiday lodges, touring caravans and associated facilities, fishing, a café, farm shop and other small niche suppliers related to leisure and recreation.

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The report states: “It is essential that the applicants need to create a ‘destination’. Park Farm must be sustainable and any permissions granted must include the ability to cater for that need.”

The development of the site into publicly accessible country parkland will help meet a need for public green spaces in the borough, which the council’s local plan identified as lacking in the borough.

Part of the project could also see cycle and footpath access to Park Farm, without using the existing main road links.

The report stated: “These links could become part of a Brecks CAReFree initiative, encouraging car transport alternatives in the Brecks region. This would assist in linking the villages of Timworth, Culford, and Ingham to the Fornhams and Bury without the need to walk or cycle on the A134 or B1106.”

The council hopes the land can be developed into a tourist attraction while also providing benefits for local residents.

The consultation on the project runs until November 16. There will also be a drop-in session at the site at Park Farm on October 22 from 1pm to 8pm.

The full concept statement can be viewed online at www.westsuffolk.com/Council/Consultations/park-farm-ingham-draft-concept-statement.cfm or at the council offices in Western Way, Bury.

To comment on the statement download a form from the website and email it to parkfarm.ingham@westsuffolk.gov.uk

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