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Death of north-east bypass 'a victory', claims developer

Thursday, 20th May 2010.

Withdrawal of plans for a north-eastern bypass for Haverhill means the proposed 2,500 new homes to be built in the town by 2031 should not now all go in that part of town, a developer has claimed.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council's core strategy document for the Local Development Framework had identified north-east Haverhill as the favoured option for the new homes, which would increase the size of the town by 25 per cent.

But at a planning inquiry last week, the council withdrew the north-east relief road plan on which the option was based, saying it could no longer be justified.

Nic Rumsey, a director of Carisbrooke Developments, which opposed the option in favour of a different one which would have involved land they control west of Haverhill, told Haverhill business people he viewed the change as a victory.

Mr Rumsey was the guest speaker at the monthly Best of Haverhill networking event, held this morning (Thursday) at Days Inn, the hotel Mr Rumsey owns.

Carisbrooke Developments owns and develops Haverhill Business Park and in eight years has brought eight new occupiers to sites within it, the latest being Culina two years ago.

There is still 27.5 acres left to find takers for, but Carisbrooke is now also on the verge of putting together complete ownership of the proposed science park area at the western edge of the town in the apex leading to the Gateway roundabout.

The site has been allocated for 30 years for business and warehouse development, including a so-called 'prestige' site at the entrance to the town.

It was in three ownerships, but Carisbrooke now have two parts and are in the process of buying up the third, making development more straightforward.

But Mr Rumsey said the site was steeply sloping and would need to be cut and filled. It was also a long way from services, so the total cost of preparing it would be over 4million.

To finance that he hoped to persuade St Edmundsbury planners to produce a draft concept statement for the 30-acre site which would include ten acres of 'high-value' development - housing, retail, restaurant, hotel or similar - to fund preparation of the other 20 acres for 400,000sq ft of offices and laboratories.

They were renaming the site Haverhill Research Park, and it was already a member of UKSPA, the UK Science Parks Association.

They had also been in contact with the new Suffolk university campus and would be talking to Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge about having premises there.

"First we need St Edmundsbury to come forward with a draft concept statement which includes these ideas," he said. "I think it is a very reasonable plan and I hope local business people will support it if and when a council statement is issued.

"I pledge to you if such a statement is issued that within a year we will come forward with a planning application."

Mr Rumsey said the site was currently earmarked for business and warehouse development, which was very different.

"It means I could put a 5,000sq ft shed like Culina on there and walk away with a pot of money and no one could do anything much about it.
But I want the site to show Haverhill in a good light to visitors."

Part of his plan would include a landmark, 'statement' building at the extreme west corner of the site facing people arriving in Haverhill from Cambridge.

Carisbrooke is also in partnership with the Haylocks of Hanchett Hall Farm with regard to their land on the other side of the bypass.

Mr Rumsey said the site could take 1,000 houses, served by a road plugged into a fourth arm at the Gateway roundabout for very little cost.

The bypass was under-used and could take the traffic generated easily. Without the north-eastern relief road the council's current option was unsustainable, he said.

"In our view that is just taking the plan from bad to worse," he said.

Haverhill Online News

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