Woodbridge scheme set to be rejected

A MAJOR scheme to redevelop the Notcutts garden centre site in Woodbridge is expected to be rejected by councillors next week and the company being told to go back to the drawing board.

A MAJOR scheme to redevelop the Notcutts garden centre site in Woodbridge is expected to be rejected by councillors next week and the company being told to go back to the drawing board.

Suffolk Coastal District Council planning officers unveiled their report yesterdayon the multi-million pound plan for an enlarged garden centre, a medical centre, housing, sheltered housing and possibly a nursing home.

They warned that the plans could not be supported. They said to build houses on land close to Warren Hill Road was against planning policy, and that the sheltered housing and nursing home at the rear of the garden centre was over development. Officers said the Conversation Area would be spoilt.

They recommend that Jeremy Schofield, director of development and community services, should be authorised to negotiate a revised scheme with Notcutts. A decision will be taken on February 5 at a development control sub committee meeting.


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There has been a fierce campaign in the town against the plans and 191 individual letters and a petition of 178 names has been received by the district council to try to stop the scheme proceeding.

However, the report reveals, for the first time, that there is also a groundswell of opinion in favour of the development.

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One hundred and six individual letters and two petitions of 564 and 103 names were given supporting Notcutts.

One of the petitions was organised at the Framfield House surgery, St John's Street, Woodbridge, where the surgery partners want to move to a new medical centre at Notcutts.

Notcutts has emphasised the potential benefits from the scheme. They include an extra 22 jobs at the garden centre, and a new medical centre at a discounted land value on a primary bus route with good links to the town centre.

The company says access would be improved with a new entrance and an area of open space at the front of the site would be dedicated for the public.

Highways consultants, acting for Notcutts, state Ipswich Road's capacity would not be exceeded by the extra traffic generated by the redevelopment.

However, the council warns there is no local need for the 10 flats and 14 houses.

The report adds: ''The current proposal does not accord with the Local Plan policy which seeks to ensure that the development should retain the character and appearance of the landscape and its trees within this part of the Woodbridge Conservation Area.''

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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