Town councillors reject homes plan
PLANS to build more than 100 new apartments, a doctors' surgery and community centre in a market town are dividing opinions.Mid Suffolk District Council is considering an application from Crest Nicholson (Eastern) to build a major development in Stowmarket including 83 one and two-bedroom flats, parking, a doctors' surgery, community hall, and create a 280-square metre commercial area, and public plaza.
By John Howard
PLANS to build more than 100 new apartments, a doctors' surgery and community centre in a market town are dividing opinions.
Mid Suffolk District Council is considering an application from Crest Nicholson (Eastern) to build a major development in Stowmarket including 83 one and two-bedroom flats, parking, a doctors' surgery, community hall, and create a 280-square metre commercial area, and public plaza.
The development, at Cedars Park, has sparked mixed feelings among residents and town councillors who welcome new facilities but fear a five-storey complex is more akin to outer London than their rural market town.
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Fred Hillyer, co-ordinator for the Cedars Park Residents' Association, said a petition signed by 150 people objecting to the plans has been handed to the district council.
He said: “This is the highest part of Cedars Park and there will be 83 flats, with only 76 dedicated car parking spaces. We can see congestion and people competing for spaces to park their cars.”
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And Gordon Paton, a former mayor, told a Stowmarket Town Council meeting on Wednesday night: “This is a rural market town, what is proposed here is the sort of thing you might get on a city brownfield site.”
Frank Whittle, town councillor, compared the five-storey development of flats to apartments the outskirts of London.
Town mayor Poppy Robinson said a doctors' surgery and community centre was needed, but felt the siting of the proposed new flats was wrong.
She said: “This is one of the highest spots of the development, so it will be a real landmark building towering over Stowmarket. This is far too high.”
But Michael Smith, design and planning executive with Crest Nicholson, said: “Like all good developers we will take things on board. It is still early days.
“We need to sit down with the planners and go through the whole lot, the advice of the town council is always very helpful.”
Town councillors recommended the district council refuse the development, although with comments to include that the community facilities are really wanted.
n An amended outline application by developer Laurence Homes for a further 24 apartments above office accommodation next to the Bury Road roundabout, with new access from the A14 slip road, was also recommended for refusal by the town council because of concerns over the traffic coming straight off the A14 slip road.