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'Cheese wedges' no more after planning appeal dismissed

PUBLISHED: 06:00 15 February 2020

Suffolk Coastal's former headquarters at Melton Hill, Woodbridge Picture: SIMON PARKIN

Suffolk Coastal's former headquarters at Melton Hill, Woodbridge Picture: SIMON PARKIN

Archant

The future of former council offices which were set to be turned into homes is now in doubt after plans for the site fell through.

A CGI view of the proposed homes for the Melton Hill site Picture: HOOPERS ARCHITECTSA CGI view of the proposed homes for the Melton Hill site Picture: HOOPERS ARCHITECTS

The former Suffolk Coastal District Council offices in Melton Hill Woodbridge had been due to be turned in 100 homes, dubbed the "cheese wedges", following a successful application for the site by developers Active Urban (Woodbridge) Ltd. last year.

However, while East Suffolk Council had approved a set of plans for the site last October, the third to be submitted for the plot, the appeal for a previous application was being considered by the Planning Inspectorate.

This rejected set of plans included less affordable homes which the developer sought to replace with vacant building credit, a type of incentive used to get developers to build on brownfield land.

The Planning Inspectorate dismissed the appeal saying that "the shortfall in affordable housing would be substantial".

With this application now dismissed the council's contract with the developers comes to an end, meaning that the development will not be built.

A spokesman for East Suffolk Council said: "East Suffolk Council has received from the Planning Inspectorate the appeal decision relating to a planning application submitted by Active Urban (Woodbridge) Ltd for the former council offices site at Melton Hill, noting that the appeal has been dismissed.

"As landowner, East Suffolk Council has advised the applicant that in accordance with the contract of sale of the site, the dismissal of the appeal brings the contract to an end, with immediate effect. The Council will now consider the options available to it regarding the future of the site, including whether to remarket it."

Eamonn O'Nolan, chair of Woodbridge Town Council planning committee, said: "I am delighted that the planning inspectorate has dismissed this appeal.

"I am incredibly encouraged by the statement from East Suffolk.

"A massive opportunity now exists for East Suffolk to create something really special here, which fits with its surroundings, respects the local habitat, and most importantly delivers the right mix of social housing which only a council can do."

The developers were contacted for comment.

READ MORE: Legal fight launched to block 'cheese wedges' housing plans

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