Calls made for government to step in on Rendlesham sports centre decision

Walnut Tree Avenue in Rendlesham is the hub of the village Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Walnut Tree Avenue in Rendlesham is the hub of the village Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

Approval of plans for shops and homes on the old Rendlesham sports centre site have been challenged, with calls for the secretary of state to make the final decision.

East Suffolk councillor Stuart Bird said the plans would transfrom a redundant site in the village.

East Suffolk councillor Stuart Bird said the plans would transfrom a redundant site in the village. Picture: SIMON PARKER

FPC (Rendlesham Ltd) was given planning permission by East Suffolk Council in July to develop the old sports centre in Walnut Tree Avenue into a convenience store, two shops and 11 affordable homes, subject to financial contributions being finalised.

Rendlesham Parish Council objected to the plans, claiming that they went against the village’s neighbourhood plan.

MORE: Rendlesham homes and shops plan gets approvalHowever, the local plan for the old Suffolk Coastal area of East Suffolk was approved before the financial contributions could be finalised, meaning it had to come back for a fresh planning committee decision on Tuesday.

East Suffolk Council’s planning south committee unanimously gave approval once again, but the parish council has challenged the original decision and called for the secretary of state to decide.

According to the parish council, that land in the ‘district centre’ must be for developing business and community uses in order to future-proof the village, with the application also contravening the new local plan, too.


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In its submission, the parish council said: “The strong feeling is that the heart of the village is shrinking and dying because of the closure of the sports centre and Angel Theatre and the lack of opportunity for other businesses to relocate to the district centre.”

Parish council chairman Michael Stevenson said: “Rendlesham Parish Council confirms our position remains that this application is against both local plan and Rendlesham Neighbourhood Plan policy, and Rendlesham Parish Council takes seriously attempts to erode the heart of the village to housing where other allocated sites for housing exist.”

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The secretary of state must now decide whether to intervene in the decision-making process. If there is no central government intervention, the development can go ahead as planned as Tuesday’s planning committee decision will remain valid.

Speaking during the committee’s debate on the application, councillor Stuart Bird said: “It’s going to make use of a redundant site in the middle of this town, it’s going to provide additional retail units, more competition and facilities for the residents there and provide more housing.”

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