Woodbridge 'must safeguard individuality'

A HISTORIC market town must safeguard its individuality and provide more housing for younger people if it is to maintain its vibrancy for future generations, it has been warned.

Craig Robinson

A HISTORIC market town must safeguard its individuality and provide more housing for younger people if it is to maintain its vibrancy for future generations, it has been warned.

Tony Hubbard, who stepped down this week after more than a decade as chairman of The Woodbridge Society, said businesses and residents had overcome many challenges in recent years.

The former solicitor, who lives on Market Hill, said the town had emerged stronger than ever but warned it must fight to safeguard its unique character if it is to continue to be successful, while at the same time encouraging responsible development - especially for younger people.


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Mr Hubbard, who has been chairman of the Woodbridge Society for 15 years, said: “We (the society) are not dead set on leaving things as they are. On the contrary, we are all for development but we have to retain the town's character and individuality

“For example there are a lot of independent shops - especially on Market Hill - and that's what's missing from a lot of towns. That's what we must make sure that we don't lose.

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“I'm not against the introduction of multi national shops - they attract more people into the town - but they have got to be right. If it's a shop that's going to be in direct competition to existing traders then I think that's a worry.”

Mr Hubbard, who served on the town council for ten years and was mayor in 1993, said he would also like to see some affordable housing for first time buyers.

“Overall Woodbridge is still vibrant as a small commercial town,” he said. “However there has been a big influx of retirement flats and I think if we are not careful that could be an over kill.

“There should be an emphasis on affordable housing over the next few years. Property prices in Woodbridge don't necessarily encourage younger people to come and live here.”

Mr Hubbard, 73, said he would also like to see improved links between the riverside and the town centre and the weekly market returned to its historic home on Market Hill instead of the Hamblin Road car park.

“I personally think it was a retrograde step when it moved away,” he said. “I still don't understand why it cannot come back to its historic centre.”

Mr Hubbard will still be busy within the town as he is chairman of the Tide Mill Trust, the Sybil Carthew Trust, which maintains and manages the sheltered flats in Carthew Court on Station Road, the Cedar House Trust, which provides facilities for several Woodbridge charities and the east Suffolk branch of the NSPCC.

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