Land designated for industrial use could instead be used to build 200 more houses in Haverhill if a developer’s application is successful.
Carisbrooke Investments – the owners of Haverhill Research Park – and estate agents Cheffins are set to apply to build ‘Helions Meadow’ on land off Bumpstead Road between Culina and the Days Inn hotel.
Nic Rumsey, owner of Carisbrooke and the Haverhill Business Park where the land is, and Paul Sutton, head of planning for Cheffins, presented their plans to Haverhill Town Council at its meeting at the arts centre on Tuesday (October 29) ahead of applying to St Edmundsbury Council for planning permission next month – a process that will take at least 12 weeks to decide.
Mr Rumsey said Carisbrooke have been trying to sell the land for industrial use without success for 15 years, and as it is ready for this much of the infrastructure necessary is already in place.
Thus work could be completed quickly – unlike the north and north east developments – and the reduced cost means the 30 per cent affordable housing allocation (50 to 60 homes) would not be a problem, unlike the research park where only ten per cent of the homes are to be affordable.
A lorry park would be provided opposite to save lorries waiting on the road to access Culina, with mr Rumsey saying he is aware of some of the ‘unacceptable’ and ‘anti social behaviour’ of some lorry drivers due to complaints to the hotel.
Explaining why the site use was being changed, Mr Rumsey said: “We bought this site in 2000 and the previous owners who had tried to get planning consent for three years, and we achieved it within three months.
“No one can say that if there’s not a deal (for a business to use the land) out there we won’t do it, as we’ve done seven or eight deals.
“Ultimately as much as I love this town I’m a businessman and I have pushed this site bloody hard for employment and there will still be land for that.
“We are taking some employment land away for housing but the employment has not come forward – Vion (now Karro) had 24 acres for employment which was reduced to five, which suggests the council thinks there’s enough employment land there.”
Mr Sutton explained that St Edmundsbury expects to need 79 hectares of employment land until 2031, yet has 168 hectares available.
There should also be a five year supply of housing available and there is only 4.3 years’ worth in Haverhill.
For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, October 31) Echo.