Wildlife trust HQ could be on the move

SUFFOLK Wildlife Trust could move from cramped headquarters in a village near Ipswich and set up a new home in converted barns.It is considering relocating from Ashbocking and turning farm buildings at Foxburrow Farm, Melton, into its new base.

SUFFOLK Wildlife Trust could move from cramped headquarters in a village near Ipswich and set up a new home in converted barns.

It is considering relocating from Ashbocking and turning farm buildings at Foxburrow Farm, Melton, into its new base.

The Trust had been looking at repairing the deteriorating buildings at Foxburrow, where it has an education centre, at a cost of £70,000.

But it said it would find it difficult to justify the expenditure on simply repairing the buildings – so instead is looking at a wholesale move to the site and putting its headquarters there.


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Residents living in Melton have expressed concerns that the redevelopment could lead to an unacceptable growth in traffic movements and the loss of residential and rural amenities.

Suffolk Coastal District Council is advising councillors to visit the site before making a decision on the planning application in August.

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Julian Roughton, the Trust's director, said yesterday that the plans were part of a feasibility study for the future of Foxburrow Farm and even if permission was granted the Trust would not necessarily move.

''We have out grown our space at Ashbocking and we cannot continue with the current situation. The study has highlighted that a barn conversion could be done very sympathetically,'' said Mr Roughton.

He said the Trust was aware of concerns expressed by neighbours and he stressed the Trust was open to guidance and help from the district council about car parking and access.

Mr Roughton said the cost of the move and redevelopment at Foxburrow had not been investigated yet and the Trust would have to apply for grants if it decided to pursue the relocation.

In 1997 the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund enabled the Trust to buy the farm buildings at Foxburrow Farm and 53 hectares of surrounding land. Mr Roughton said, in correspondence with planners, that hedgerow removed in the short-term redevelopment at Foxburrow would be replaced and the overall length would be increased.

He said the Trust had made numerous improvements at Foxburrow including the planting of 1,100 trees and the creation of six hectares of meadows from arable land.

Robin Miller, former co-owner of the farm, said the buildings were part of the fabric of Suffolk, dating back more than 170 years, and he would be delighted if the Trust moved there. He said he had wanted the Trust to move when he owned Foxburrow Farm.

John Peecock, of Peecock Short Property Solutions, said: ''The applicants are confident that the implementation of this scheme would have no adverse impact on the surroundings but would, in fact, enable the sympathetic renovation and reuse of an existing building for an employment use and also improves coach parking and access arrangements.''

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