Decision time for Brett Works site plans

An artist's impression of designs for retirement homes on the former Brett Works site in Hadleigh.
An artist's impression of designs for retirement homes on the former Brett Works site in Hadleigh.

Plans to redevelop the former Brett Works site in Hadleigh into retirement properties will be assessed by Babergh next week.

The former rope works off the High Street has been derelict since the 1970s but has seen plans for housing and a supermarket, most recently in 2013 when Babergh rejected plans to build a Tesco supermarket for fears it would cause substantial harm to the High Street and wider economy.

The latest plans by McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles has been recommended for approval by Babergh case officer Kathryn Orman.

If approved by the council’s planning committee on Wednesday the site would see demolition of existing buildings, including partial demolition of 109 High Street, to create a retail unit and a two bedroom apartment.

Other properties to be built would have age restrictions and would include 35 retirement apartments, four houses and 25 bungalows.

Other works would include access car parking, landscaping of open spaces and a bridge over the River Brett.

Hadleigh Town Council has recommended the plans are approved but has raised concerns over the lack of social housing, impact on the health centre due to an ageing population and the design of the apartment block.

Babergh’s corporate manager for heritage, Suffolk Preservation Society, Hadleigh Society and Historic England all raised concerns, with the latter describing the design of the apartment block as ‘out of character’, adding the design would “fundamentally change the undeveloped character of the site” but added harm to listed buildings would be minor.

NHS England has said existing GP provision is inadequate to cope with increased demand but this could be mitigated with a contribution via a Community Infrastructure Levy bid - monies agreed to help minimise the impact from development.

In total 27 letters of support were received for the plans, with 11 letters of objection sent in.

Pros for the plans included local demand for retirement homes, improving a ‘run-down’ site and the site’s connection to local services.

Much of the criticism surrounded the height and scale of the apartment block and the effect it would have on nearby heritage buildings.

Another area for concern was a lack of social housing, however, in recommending approval of the site Mrs Orman also recommends £300,000 is contributed towards affordable housing and the maintenance of the open space area, as well as the provision of a bridge across the river, among other conditions.