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Retail park objections withdrawn

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Traffic concerns which seemed set to hold up plans for a £5million retail park in Haverhill have been eased after the developers returned with amended proposals.

The Howard Group has drawn up plans for the construction of a foodstore and three other shops on the site of the former Project Office furniture factory on the corner of Ehringshausen Way and Stour Valley Road.

However when the proposals were presented to the town council in November last year members expressed anxiety about the increase in traffic the park would bring to Ehringhausen Way.

During a recent council meeting the developers, who bought the site in 2008, showed revised plans.

Town clerk Colin Poole said these drawings, which included an added protective pedestrian walkway, had allayed the fears of councillors.

“The council was pleased with the positive response of the developers,” said Mr Poole.

“The developers came back with clear drawings and councillors were satisfied and withdrew their objections.”

The retail park is expected to include a Lidl which will occupy a 14,500 sq ft area, a Home Bargains on a 13,500 sq ft pre-let site with a yard area and a Pets at Home on a 6,000 sq ft site. A further shop will fill another 6,000 sq ft area.

It is estimated that the shops will create up to 250 full and part-time jobs.

“Hopefully given the quick, positive response it will be considered that any issues have been resolved,” said Mr Poole.

“Overall councillors have always been very keen on the development and it was simply a case of knocking off a few rough edges so the development can proceed.”

The site has been left empty since 2007 despite numerous attempts to make use of the area.

In 2011 planning permission was approved for the construction of a MacDonalds and a Wickes on the land. However Wickes withdrew from the project after a B&Q was built in Haverhill.

Colin Brown, development manager at the Howard Group, has said he intends for the park, which could open next year, to stop a ‘retail leak’ in Haverhill where residents choose to travel outside the town for shopping.

A planning application is now due to go before St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

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