Woodbridge boatyard plans revealed

A NEW hotel boasting between 30 and 40 bedrooms is part of plans to transform a Suffolk boatyard into a thriving waterfront area.Design consultants The Landscape Partnership is today unveiling the initial proposals for Whisstocks Boatyard and Quayside Mill in Woodbridge.

By Danielle Nuttall

A NEW hotel boasting between 30 and 40 bedrooms is part of plans to transform a Suffolk boatyard into a thriving waterfront area.

Design consultants The Landscape Partnership is today unveiling the initial proposals for Whisstocks Boatyard and Quayside Mill in Woodbridge.

The plans include a high-quality hotel, associated café or restaurant, shops suitable for a waterfront theme, offices, and a possible visitor centre focussed on the Deben Estuary, Woodbridge waterfront and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


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There are also proposals to feature a variety of traditional marine workshops with live/work accommodation units and some apartments on the upper floors.

Artists' impressions of the development and early ideas for the project are being shown to the public in an exhibition today and tomorrow in the town to gather feedback.

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The Landscape Partnership, which was employed by site owner Stephen Vantreen to produce the plan, hopes to submit a planning application by the end of the year.

Director Christopher Stratton said: “We are looking at an initial concept, not a final scheme. We are trying to get people's views on that. It's about what is right for the environment and the people that live down there.

“We are trying to show what could be achieved. It's sharing the initial ideas and we are keeping our minds open.

“It's a mixed use development with a small, high-quality hotel with between 30 and 40 bedrooms, an associated café/restaurant, a local amenity facility which could be a visitors centre with viewing platform to explain the Woodbridge waterfront and link the story of the Deben Estuary and the coastal areas.

“There is also the possibility of Thames barges coming back to Woodbridge as a possible base. We are also hoping to provide a land-based modern facility for boat restoration and that will be linked to the workshops.”

He added: “At the moment the whole site is private but we are hoping to double the size of the waterfront and quay to allow people into the site when that could have been private development.”

The site of the potential development became vacant in 1991 when Whisstocks went into liquidation.

A plan to use the boatyard for luxury housing was refused planning permission by a Government inspector in January 2003 after an appeal.

A new development might involve improvements to the level crossing and also a flood risk assessment to establish what protection is needed to safeguard the land as it is hoped the existing floodwall might be removed to widen the quay.

The Woodbridge and Melton Riverside Action Group was set up in November in order to inform residents and visitors about issues affecting the Deben riverside, including the Whisstocks proposals.

The group intend to gather public opinion about the project by handing out a questionnaire at the public exhibition.

This will be made available to Suffolk Coastal District Council and the developers at a later date.

Group chairman Moray MacPhail said: “We are trying to let the local people know what's going on and inform them so that can give their view.

“It's been ten years now and it's still going on. People are still as passionate about it.”

The exhibition will be held at the Crown Hotel in the Thoroughfare, Woodbridge, today between 10am and 6pm and from 9.30am to 1pm tomorrow.

For more information about the Woodbridge and Melton Riverside Action Group visit its website at www.woodbridgeriverside.org.

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