New plans for village cafe, shop and business units divide opinion

Images of the new development proposed for Ufford

Images of the new development proposed for Ufford - Credit: Landex

Plans to bring a new convenience shop, café and other business units to a Suffolk village have divided local opinion. 

The application would see the demolition of the former Crown Nursery on High Street in Ufford for it to be replaced with a new cafe, shop and 11 business units. 

In the design and access statement, the applicants, Landex Limited, said the new buildings would "reflect the appearance of traditional buildings" with "materials selected from the Suffolk vernacular palette".

Landex had previously developed another part of the former nursery site into houses. 

The developers hope the new business units will provide jobs for the local area

The developers hope the new business units will provide jobs for the local area - Credit: Landex

As well as the business units, the plans would include 116 new car park spaces as well as spaces for motorbikes and cycles. 

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Leslie Short, from Artisan Planning and Development, the agents for the application, said: "We have had a mixed bag of responses in the pre-application.

"There were lots of positives in the job opportunities that it might bring, particularly for part-time work."

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Mr Short said that it was important that these employment opportunities were not lost in the area, in line with East Suffolk Council's local plan. 

So far residents have responded overwhelmingly negatively to the proposals, describing it as unnecessary and saying that it would "fundamentally change the character of the village". 

Most of those commenting on the plans said that because of the close proximity of facilities at Melton and Wickham Market, they would rather the former nursery be used for other purposes, such as affordable housing. 

"I do hope you do not give the go ahead for this as it is not the right place for this it should be housing only," said one of the commenters. 

Only one of the eight comments on the application is in support of the development, saying it could bring "life" to the village. 

Mr Short said he understood the concerns for new housing in the area, but said it wasn't possible for the land to be used like this under the council's own guidance. 

Ufford Parish Council are hosting a Zoom meeting on Thursday to get residents' views about the plans ahead of a meeting next Tuesday. 

East Suffolk Council will make a final decision on the plans in due course. 

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