Sudbury: Move to make 1050-home plan attractive to developers

Part of the site earmarked for the new Chilton Woods development near Sudbury

Part of the site earmarked for the new Chilton Woods development near Sudbury - Credit: Archant

County council chiefs remain confident that plans to deliver 1,050 new homes on the outskirts of Sudbury will go ahead despite a major developer pulling out of the project earlier this year.

Plans for the 270-acre Chilton Woods development to the north of Sudbury have been in the pipeline for more than a decade. Redrow Homes and landowner Suffolk County Council were on the verge of releasing a master plan for the area - which stretches from behind the Tesco superstore to the edge of Waldingfield Road - shortly before the developer withdrew in March.

Redrow is the second developer to pull out of Chilton Woods. The county council’s previous partner, Ashwells, also withdraw after it went into receivership.

Although Redrow has declined to comment on its decision to pull out, county council representative Martyn Jones said Chilton Woods was not a scheme that Redrow was prepared to continue to “pour money into” because it was not viable in its current form.

Last year, the company queried costs for installing electricity to the site, which were initially estimated at £3million but rose to £13m for a new substation and undergrounding of cables.

County council cabinet member for finance and property, Colin Noble, said the Chilton Woods development remained an “important scheme for Suffolk” that is included in the county’s growth strategy.

He said: “The county has worked with Babergh District Council to prepare an outline planning application which, if approved, will give potential developers more certainty over their involvement in the site. This application will be submitted to the district council next spring.

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“Rather than just seeking a single builder for the whole site, we are interested in serious approaches from a multitude of developers. There is currently some welcome interest in the site, particularly from businesses considering relocating in this part of Suffolk.”

According to Mr Noble, the uncertain economic climate has affected overall developer confidence. He continued: “If planning permission is secured, some of the risks could be reduced and this should create greater interest from developers.

“The next step is to prepare the outline planning application and to programme the delivery of the infrastructure. The scheme needs to be realistic but reflect the wishes of the local community, as well as the expectations of the landowners.”

A Babergh spokesman said it was too early to go into detail about the new plan, but added: “The county council is keen to build on a lot of the work already done with the community on the design and layout of any development.” A planning inspector appointed to examine Babergh’s core strategy including Chilton Woods is yet to report back on his findings.