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Council digs its heels in over research park

Saturday, 4th September 2010.

Plans for Haverhill Research Park hit a snag this week when councillors dug their heels in against changes to the scheme which had been backed by local business and education leaders.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council's draft concept statement for the 30-acre Hanchet End business park area beside the Gateway Roundabout was confirmed on Tuesday, without any changes to accept high-value users such as housing for part of the site.

The change had been urged by Carisbrooke, the developers who control the land, who say it is necessary for the scheme to be viable.

Carisbrooke estimated the cost of transforming the sloping site and bringing in services to be 4million, and this meant around a third would need to be given over to higher-value uses such as leisure, retail or housing, to allow the rest to be developed as a research park, to include a prestige development on the gateway corner.

But councillors decided the need for high-value development was not proved, and stuck to their guns, in the face of letters from Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, Haverhill Enterprise, West Suffolk College and Suffolk University Campus, as well as expert independent reports, all backing Carisbrooke's comments.

Haverhill councillor Anne Gower said she had supported the plea for the concept statement to be changed, but had lost out at the meeting.

"I really want this scheme to happen, and Carisbrooke have made a good case that it is reasonable there should be an element of housing," she said.

"It was a close vote, but members were worried about setting a precedent.

"Now it will be a business decision for Carisbrooke about whether they want to run any further with it."

Haverhill Online News

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