Cornhill Walk Shopping Centre plans dismissed at appeal
- Credit: Phil Morley
Controversial plans to redevelop an outdated former shopping centre have been rejected at appeal to the delight of campaigners.
Knightspur Homes had applied to redevelop Cornhill Walk Shopping Centre in Bury St Edmunds town centre, coming up with a scheme for shops, flats and a 24-hour gym.
But the plans, which were submitted to West Suffolk Council, were met with fierce opposition over the scale of the building and its negative impact on neighbouring residents.
Knightspur Homes appealed, but planning inspector Carole Dillon has this week decided to dismiss it.
In her conclusion, she said "unacceptable harm" would be imposed on the living conditions of neighbouring residents and there would also be harm to important heritage assets.
The site is the Bury St Edmunds Town Centre Conservation Area and is also surrounded by a number of listed buildings on Brentgovel Street, Well Street and Cornhill.
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Pauline Judge, of the Well Street Residents Association, said: "We are very pleased. It's great the inspector acknowledged our concerns. For our living standards, it's great."
The inspector said the proposed development had the potential for direct overlooking and could impose "an undue sense of surveillance" at some Well Street homes.
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Mrs Judge added: "At the moment we have to live with this awful building that's still here.
"That will go eventually and hopefully something will be built that will stand the test of time and will be a bonus for our town."
She hopes future plans for the site will include green space for the community.
The inspector said "on balance, the existing shopping centre building makes a neutral contribution to its historic context" but "the appeal proposal would not sufficiently and successfully assimilate with its important heritage rich surroundings".
Martyn Taylor, chairman of the Bury Society, said: “The Bury Society believes the appeal decision shows why the planning process needs to more fully take into account the voice of the local community.
"We now look forward to working with the developer to bring forward new plans which take our concerns into consideration."
The developer was approached for comment.
West Suffolk Council declined to comment.