Retailer goes on the attack

A GARDEN retailer at the centre of controversial multi-million pound expansion plans has sent out leaflets to residents urging them to support the redevelopment.

A GARDEN retailer at the centre of controversial multi-million pound expansion plans has sent out leaflets to residents urging them to support the redevelopment.

Notcutts, Ipswich Road, Woodbridge, went on the attack in an unusual move in a planning process by distributing colour leaflets to residents throughout the town calling for their support.

Charles Notcutt, chairman, and his son William Notcutt, group managing director, addressed their plea for help to their “fellow” residents and asked them to write to Suffolk Coastal's planning department in support of the application.

The company, based in Woodbridge since 1897, wants to build a two-storey medical centre, enlarge the garden centre, build houses and sheltered housing and retain the frontage as a public open space. A new access and roundabout would be created at the junction with Cherry Tree Road and a new internal road layout and more car parking spaces would be provided on the site.


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The company said in its statement: “We are pleased to be able to accommodate the urgent community necessity for a medical centre on the site and will accommodate it in a sensitive manner, locating it to the rear of the site behind the public park.

“The increase in traffic levels on Ipswich Road will be mainly out of peak times. The potential impact will be reduced by way of much needed traffic calming measures, including an improved access into both Cherry Tree Road and the site and also a pedestrian crossing on Ipswich Road.

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“We hope that with this information, you can appreciate the care with which our planning application for the total site has been assembled and will support us in our wish for it to be approved.”

Notcutts maintains that the proposals are “essentially in accordance” with Suffolk Coastal's Local Plan. However, planning officers last week stated that the medical centre and the proposed houses below Warren Hill Road are within an area to be protected from development. The district council is holding a site visit soon before making a decision in February.

Ed Stanford, chairman of the Woodbridge AP238 Action Group, said: “I am surprised they have done this. It is a bit late and the 21 days for consultation expired a long time ago. All it illustrates is the gulf between the applicant and those who do not see it his way, and we are surprised that Notcutts have produced this statement about planning which is contrary to what was said by the council at a meeting last week.”

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