Trust upset after home move refused

SUFFOLK Wildlife Trust has admitted it was 'very disappointed' to be denied permission to move its headquarters to a farm.The organisation, based at Ashbocking, near Ipswich, will now consider making an appeal against Suffolk Coastal District Council's refusal of planning permission.

SUFFOLK Wildlife Trust has admitted it was 'very disappointed' to be denied permission to move its headquarters to a farm.

The organisation, based at Ashbocking, near Ipswich, will now consider making an appeal against Suffolk Coastal District Council's refusal of planning permission.

The trust wanted to convert barns at Foxburrow Farm, Melton, where it already has an education centre, and use them for a new headquarters. But it failed by one vote to receive permission from the development control sub committee.

Julian Roughton, the trust's director, said after the decision: "We have some traditional farm buildings which would have been put to very good use and would have complemented the work we already do at Foxburrow Farm."


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Mr Roughton said he believed issues about potential traffic problems had been overstated and the trust would analyse the council's reasons for refusal before making a decision on the next step to take.

The council's policy allows existing buildings outside towns and villages to be adapted for employment provided certain conditions are met.

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Councillors decided that there would be a significant loss of residential or rural amenity and there would be extra traffic. The policy says businesses have to have 25 or fewer employees on site.

The trust has nine staff at Foxburrow Farm and wanted to bring 20 staff at Brooke House, Ashbocking to join them. The total number would have breached the policy. Extra parking spaces were not planned.

Paul Callaghan, Melton's district councillor, wrote to the committee to complain that changing a farm into a small business park was unacceptable.

Anni Healey, committee member, said: "It is basically a farm with a study centre and now we are introducing offices. I find it difficult to reconcile this with the effect on the residents and the landscape.''

Councillor John Leggett said: "I do not think this is the right place. It is a very, very rural setting and I think they would be better at Otley College."

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