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Plans for Mid Suffolk District Council's former offices and Needham Market Middle School go to committee




Major planning applications for two key Needham Market sites will be considered by Mid Suffolk District Council on Wednesday.

Plans for the former district council offices and car park, at 131 High Street, will be considered along with a proposed development of the town's former middle school.

The High Street scheme, for 94 homes and a shop, will be discussed by the council's planning referrals committee on Wednesday, at 2pm, on the grounds it is classed as a major development and because it is the council's own application.

An artist's impression of how a new development of the former Mid Suffolk District Council offices and car parks could look (7271080)
An artist's impression of how a new development of the former Mid Suffolk District Council offices and car parks could look (7271080)

The town council has objected on the grounds of affordable housing provision, however the district said a financial viability appraisal had said the 10 homes proposed was acceptable.

A report to the committee recommends the scheme for approval, subject to conditions.

Mid Suffolk district council offices Needham Market. Picture by Mark Westley. (7271107)
Mid Suffolk district council offices Needham Market. Picture by Mark Westley. (7271107)

Meanwhile, 41 affordable homes could be built on the middle school site – which has been unused since the school closed in 2015 – and a Victorian building converted into a library.

Again, the scheme was referred to the committee on the grounds it is a major development and the council's own application.

The town council's objections included concerns over highway safety, noise and light from the existing neighbouring sports facility and lack of community engagement.

A report to the committee said 60 responses were received during the first public consultation, with the majority being objections. Following amendment, further consultation was carried out in January and a further eight objections were received.

Concerns raised included: traffic; danger to pedestrians; narrow paths; too many houses; questionable motives of district council as developer; size of proposed library and inadequate infrastructure.

A report to the committee said: "Mid Suffolk needs a five year supply of housing land and this site helps towards that delivery – with the added bonus that this is all to be affordable."

The report recommends approval, subject to conditions.

Needham Market Middle School...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (7274217)
Needham Market Middle School...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (7274217)


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