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New shop for sustainable soft toys gets go ahead in Woodbridge

PUBLISHED: 14:45 07 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:02 07 January 2020

A new toy design shop is heading for Church Street at the former Neals Estate Agents outlet. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

A new toy design shop is heading for Church Street at the former Neals Estate Agents outlet. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Archant

A handmade toy company is hoping to breathe new life into a former estate agents after being granted permission to convert the Woodbridge offices into a shop.

Plans to alter internal and external parts of the Grade II listed building have been submitted to make way for Ferrars Design. Picture: COURTESY OF EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL PLANNING APPLICATION DEPT.Plans to alter internal and external parts of the Grade II listed building have been submitted to make way for Ferrars Design. Picture: COURTESY OF EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL PLANNING APPLICATION DEPT.

The unit, in Church Street, has been empty since the end of 2018 - and now a company making handmade toys is setting up shop in the Grade II listed building.

Ferrar Design was established in 2011 by Kerry Ferrar - and she has run the firm from her home in Great Glemham ever since, selling the designs in Vanil, the Scandinavian-inspired shop, also situated in Church Street.

Now, due to business growth, she needs to expand to a wider area and a more commercial setting.

Her plans to alter internal and external parts of the structure including demolition of the 1950s staircase have been approved by East Suffolk Council.

But she has assured residents that the renovations will have no significant impact on the heritage value of the property.

Ms Ferrar plans to create a consulting space for meetings, workshops and new product launches, within the store.

She uses Fairtrade organic materials to make her artisan soft fabric toys and her designs are hand crafted by a strong network of makers in Woodbridge, Orford, Framlingham and Felixstowe.

The new outlet will generate four job vacancies - two full-time, and two part-time positions.

In a statement, Ms Ferrar, said: "The opportunity to move the business to 26 Church Street is the natural next step for us as a business.

"Our ambition is to convert the building back into not only a home for our family but also retail and office space to support our growing business.

"We feel that this would provide the perfect balance between the original configuration of the building as a house with retail space and its subsequent commercial use after it was converted by the Neals in 1959.

"We would like to return the building to its original splendour and contribute to the ambition to continue to breathe life back into Church Street."

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