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Chance to see the new vision for Gurteens' site

Monday, 4th January 2010.

There is a chance tomorrow (Tuesday) to view in detail the ideas being put forward for redeveloping one of the focal points of Haverhill town centre, the Gurteens site.

The draft development brief was presented jointly by St Edmundsbury Council and Bidwells, the agents for Gurteens, in October to the Haverhill Area Working Party.

A public consultation phase is now being kicked off with tomorrow's public exhibition at the firm's Chauntry Mills site from 2pm to 8pm, and will run until February 1.

The plans will be on display in the reception area of Gurteens from 10am to 4pm on weekdays during that time.

The plans are a suggestion of the sort of development which might take place within the Grade II listed three-acre site.

"Redevelopment of the site has an important role to play in the regeneration of Haverhill and the town centre in particular," the development brief says.

It is a non-statutory planning guidance for the site, showing developers the sorts of uses which the council, as planning authority, would be likely to favour, and the ways in which the site could be re-used.

The site is very rare in being a full-scale textile mill in the centre of an East Anglian town, but manufacturing ceased there in 1996, moving to other parts of the world after more than 200 years there, and it is now the company's administrative headquarters.

Gurteens are looking to move to a more convenient site within the town, the brief says.

It also states that, although the site is Grade II listed, and English Heritage will comment on any plans, not all the buildings are as significant as the main ones.

"The site contains buildings of architectural and historic interest and the determination of any proposals for development will therfore give special consideration to the impact on these buildings and their setting," the brief says.

"Nevertheless, it is recognised that a change of use, some demolition and redevelopment of the site maybe justified as the most appropriate and realistic way to preserve buildings of architectural or historic interest."

Among the opportunities the site presents are the original steam engine Caroline, which is still in situ, and the proximity of the green space of St Mary's Churchyard, to which direct pedestrian access could be created.

The brief concludes that the most appropriate scheme would contain a mixture of uses for the site, including residential, retail, office and leisure.

Haverhill Online News

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