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Woodbridge: Conservation trust unveils tourism proposals

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 February 2012

Suffolk Coastal District Council offices in Woodbridge

Suffolk Coastal District Council offices in Woodbridge

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A WILDLIFE charity has unveiled a proposal that it hopes will boost the local economy and promote sustainable tourism.

The Sinfield Nature Conservation Trust, based at Sweffling near Saxmundham, has tabled a planning application with Suffolk Coastal District Council for its site at White House Farm in Hasketon, near Woodbridge.

The charity is hoping for a change of use on a five-acre site on the farm, from agricultural land to camping and tourist accommodation.

The changes would include safari tents, two bell tents, two gypsy caravans and four shepherd’s huts to be used for cooking and facilities.

The existing cartlodge would be converted to a farm pantry, bicycle shed and wood store, while the cattle shed would be moved to the existing car park.

A new car park would be built which would be large enough to accommodate 14 vehicles.

David Houchell, who is acting as the agent for the Sinfield Nature Conservation Trust, said: “It’s a very exciting project and we’ve had a lot of support for it.

“It’s a very interesting conservation site.

“We have been consulting with a number of organisations.

“The farm will continue to operate as it does now but there will be additional tourist accommodation on a very small part of the site.

“In essence, it is a luxury campsite. The accommodation will be erected each season between April and October.

“We have been consulting with Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the aim is to make it low-key and sustainable. It will not have a negative effect.

“We’ve had to recognise the sensitivity of the site and it will be well-screened from the road. The hope is that it will boost the local economy and create an additional two part-time jobs.”

The application has not been without opposition and Edward Creasy, chairman of Burgh Parish Meeting, said they had raised concerns about the extra level of traffic that the proposals could generate.

But Mr Houchell said they had been working hard to ensure any problems were ironed out.

“I know there have been some concerns with regard to levels of traffic,” he said.

“However, we are confident that there will be very little impact. We are putting together a traffic control system diverting traffic away from Burgh on to the A12.”

The Sinfield Nature Conservation Trust is a charity preserving 115 acres of wild-flower meadows, woodland, ancient trees and ponds, promoting nature conservation to benefit all.

It supports more than 50 bird species, dragonflies and butterflies and protects endangered species such as bullfinch and great-crested newt.

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