Former council HQ plans include underground car parking and green space
PUBLISHED: 10:57 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:57 20 April 2017
Detailed proposals have been unveiled for a ‘car-free’ housing development to replace the former headquarters of Suffolk Coastal District Council in Woodbridge.
Dozens of residents turned out to preview plans for the old offices on Melton Hill – vacated by the council when it moved to Riduna Park late last year.
A public exhibition was held at the same Woodbridge Primary School venue as last April’s community planning workshops, which pledged to shape the proposals eventually bound for submission later this spring.
The resulting blueprint for the 3.23-acre site includes 110 homes of varying scale – a third of which conform to district affordable housing policy – commercial space, potential for cultural activity, underground parking, and a circular public pedestrian route with access to the riverside and views across the Deben to Sutton Hoo.
Community planning specialists from John Thompson & Partners (JTP) attended the exhibition with developer, Active Urban Property Group (AUPG), and architects from Ipswich-based Hoopers.
JTP partner Charles Campion said: “We wanted to show the community plans in advance of an application. Many took the time and effort to attend the community planning weekend, and it’s good to see a lot of those people return to be taken through the proposal.
“We believe this type of engagement creates better, more informed schemes. We advocate this way of working, and the national charity Civic Voice promotes a collaborative planning process.
“Ideas have been taken on board to create routes through the site, green spaces, and underground car parking.
“It has certainly been the case in Woodbridge that people are passionate about their community and want to be involved in the process.
“From the visions created last year, proposals have incorporated mixed uses along with the housing element; activity at the front and, hopefully, the creation of a café and green environment to walk through.
“Obviously, we had to consider what was feasible and achievable. The change of levels on-site opens up the opportunity for views across the river – and a circular pedestrian route – that people have perhaps been unable to access and enjoy until now.”