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Councillors welcome housing scheme on employment land

Wednesday, 8th January 2014.

Town councillors have welcomed plans for an area of land zoned for industry to be given permission for houses to built on it instead, despite protests from members of the public.

Carisbrooke Developments have submitted a planning application for up to 200 homes to be built on land beside Bumpstead Road next to Culina and currently part of Haverhill Business Park.

The site has full infrastructure in place, but despite ten years of marketing has attracted no takers as a location for a factory or warehouse.

Government planning regulations have changed recently and allow councils to change the zoning of employment land which has not proved likely to attract any businesses, as long as there is a good enough supply of available land in the area.

Paul Sutton, on behalf of Carisbrooke, told members of Haverhill Town Council last night the available space in Haverhill currently amounted to over two million square feet of floorspace, or 27 years' worth.

That was without including the parts of Haverhill Business Park which lie within the Braintree District Council area.

The outline planning was for up to 200 homes, including 60 affordable ones, and because the infrastructure was already in place they could be delivered straightaway, whereas other residential sites in Haverhill were likely to take many years to come on stream.

Very few new homes had been built in the town in the last few years, and there was a shortage of affordable housing.

Both Conservative and Labour members welcomed the plan and agreed to give it support in their response to St Edmundsbury Borough Council planners who will decide the issue.

Town mayor Cllr Roger Andre said the evidence that there was enough employment land available was overwhelming, and this site was ideally situated close both to footpaths giving easy access to the town centre and to areas of employment.

The only dissenting voices had come from the public forum, led by UKIP county councillor Tony Brown, who claimed the employment land would be needed as Haverhill came out of recession and began to grow.

After the meeting Nic Rumsey, director at Carisbrooke Investments, said: “I was delighted that the town council felt able to support the application following its own consideration of the proposals at its meeting last night. I look forward to now seeing the application progress through the planning process.

“Given the current local need that exists for new homes, especially affordable housing, and in light of the sustained lack of interest from potential commercial occupiers to date, we consider our proposals to be logical and in-line with Government policy.

“These proposals would deliver further investment in the town while creating valuable jobs in the construction of the much-needed new homes.

"In addition to the town council’s support, feedback already received on the proposals is also encouraging, with immediate neighbours and the Chamber of Commerce both recognising the merits of the scheme.”

Haverhill Online News

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