Residents fight against nursery revamp
By Richard SmithANGRY residents have warned their historic market town could be spoilt forever if a garden centre redevelopment goes ahead.Householders living near the Notcutts garden centre in Woodbridge are concerned about the impact of a multi-million-pound development plan.
By Richard Smith
ANGRY residents have warned their historic market town could be spoilt forever if a garden centre redevelopment goes ahead.
Householders living near the Notcutts garden centre in Woodbridge are concerned about the impact of a multi-million-pound development plan.
Notcutts wants to treble the size of the Ipswich Road garden centre, which would be paid for by developing other areas of their site.
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Ten flats, 14 houses, 40 units of sheltered housing, a medical centre, more sheltered housing or a nursing home and extra car parking spaces are planned.
Woodbridge Town Council has already called for the plan to be rejected and residents gathered yesterday to outline their stance.
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They issued a statement, which read: “The sort of development Notcutts have applied for is not consistent with the Town Plan, especially in relation to the housing proposals.
“If the council were to approve the Notcutts application, it would drive a coach and horses through the plan and completely undermine it, opening the way for all manner of other applications.
“A draft Town Plan to replace the present one will be available next year. Any plans which Notcutts may have should be put forward for public debate during the preparation of the new plan.”
The residents have also put up brightly-coloured posters across Woodbridge to raise awareness of their campaign.
Gillian Smith, of Ipswich Road, said: “I feel the whole town is unaware about what is happening and that is the reason for the poster campaign.”
Julian Illman, a neighbour, warned the scheme would lead to a “trade drain” with people using the services at the new Notcutts site rather than travelling into Woodbridge town centre.
“A precedent would be set for the rest of the town if they were allowed to develop in a conservation area,” he said.
“We do not want to lose the essence of Woodbridge. It is a beautiful town and a large-scale development will detract from that.”
William Notcutt, group managing director of Notcutts, has said developments that departed from the Local Plan were allowed if there was a significant benefit to be had.
He hoped the inclusion of a medical centre in the proposed development would meet that criteria. Suffolk Coastal District Council will make a final decision within a few months.