Wildlife trust to expand its HQ

SUFFOLK Wildlife Trust has decided to expand its present headquarters after failing in a lengthy planning battle to obtain permission to move to barns near Woodbridge.

By Richard Smith

SUFFOLK Wildlife Trust has decided to expand its present headquarters after failing in a lengthy planning battle to obtain permission to move to barns near Woodbridge.

The trust will start work soon on upgrading the offices it has in Ashbocking, near Grundisburgh, instead of moving staff to Foxburrow Farm, Melton.

The trust has an education centre at Foxburrow Farm and it wanted to convert barns into offices.


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But the proposals became controversial and there was a complex planning row which ended up in the High Court.

The scheme, first unveiled in February 2003, was refused permission by the district council. Then the trust won an appeal, only for this to be challenged by residents through a High Court case.

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The residents challenged the validity of the appeal decision and a fresh inquiry was ordered. This was heard in January last year and a different planning inspector decided the trust should not be granted permission.

The inspector, Daphne Mair, ruled that Foxburrow Farm was in an unsuitable remote countryside location although it is a few hundred yards from the A12, one of the two busiest roads in Suffolk.

Julian Roughton, the trust's director, said: “We got planning permission to extend our offices here at Ashbocking and we are looking to start work in about May.

“Hopefully this will be ready by November. At Foxburrow Farm we are improving the education rooms and facility and taking some steps to improve some of the rather rundown buildings. That work is ongoing at the moment.”

The trust uses a converted house as the headquarters in Ashbocking but increasing staff numbers have put pressure on the building.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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