Landowners say they are hitting ‘a brick wall’ with council bosses over plans to regenerate long-disused land in Bury St Edmunds, including the potential for a major supermarket.
The consortium of landowners say they have been trying to develop the 15-16 acre Tayfen Road site for 10 years and has a ‘large food retailer’ which wants to use the site.
A masterplan for the area, based on adopted policy in St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s 2006 local plan, says the site is suitable for ‘housing, a small supermarket, retail, warehouses and hotel’.
However, Clive Morris, who owns about 25 per cent of the land with John Gill as part of the Tayfen Road Partnership, says the financial climate has changed with a fall in commercial values and high costs to clean up the site and dismantle a gas holder.
He said: “We went back to the council and said our costs have stayed the same but the value we’re going to get has decreased. We just need to change it from a small supermarket to a major supermarket. The clean up and remedial costs are so great we need high level return development to be able to do it.”
At a Borough Council meeting on Monday, Mr Morris told John Griffiths, leader of the authority, the landowners had been ‘met by brick wall after brick wall’ with their plans and asked whether he would support a major supermarket-led project.
Cllr Griffiths said: “I think every councillor in this room is very keen to see a redevelopment of what’s an extremely important and potentially very exciting part of Bury.”
He said any application would be considered by development control and he was ‘not in favour of piecemeal development’.
In reply, Mr Morris said the council’s officers were ‘not being as pro-active as they should’. He added: “Piecemeal development is something none of us wants.”
A statement from the landowners, which is CCIF ltd, National Grid and the Partnership, said: “The landowners have worked hard to bring forward a viable scheme on this difficult brownfield site by promoting an opportunity which brings much needed regeneration to this area of the town, results in the removal of the gas holder and creates hundreds of new jobs. In light of the council’s stance, the site’s future will be reviewed.”
A spokeswoman for the council said: “There have been ongoing discussions about the site. We have a masterplan in existence. Any planning application that goes aginst the masterplan would be considered on its merits and the existing adopted policy.”