Clopton Business Park plans rejected by East Suffolk Council

6:39 pm 23 November 2021

Plans to expand a business park in east Suffolk that could create more than 130 new jobs have been rejected due to uncertainty over what will actually be built there.

Oasis Property Ltd has filed plans to transform a 1.7 hectare portion of undeveloped grassland at Debach airfield into an extension of the Clopton business park.

The overall plans provided for light industrial, office, general industrial, and storage or distribution uses, which would include a main business center, three terraces of smaller units, and a studio with a gym, nursery. and a coffee.

However, while the plans are well received by Clopton Parish Council and East Suffolk Council’s Economic Development Team, planning officers have recommended denial.

This is because the land is considered countryside and the local council plan states that new employment land outside the settlement boundaries should not be allowed.

In addition, the lack of pedestrian and bicycle links as well as the lack of bus connectivity meant that officers considered it to have “poor sustainability”.

The East Suffolk Council South Planning Committee rejected the plans by eight votes to one on Tuesday afternoon.

Councilor Mike Deacon pointed to other sites in the area designated for industrial use and said, “If we give in to pieces here and there, we’re going to destroy our countryside.”

Cllr Tony Cooper added: “If this request had been made by companies that wanted to take units, I think our decision could be much easier, but at the moment we are looking at industrial companies, we have no evidence that it would be. and going against our local plan.

However, the advisers also stressed that job development was essential, while Cllr Stuart Bird said there could be many reasons why companies had not occupied other assigned sites, describing the economic growth in rural areas as “more desperately needed” than urban parts of the neighborhood.

Peter Raffell, chairman of Clopton Parish Council, said the council “sees this as a rare opportunity for a new approach to rural development, potentially to provide up to 135 jobs locally”.

He said the storage units would only bring in low-skilled jobs, while the site’s design to provide skilled industrial jobs and even become a hub of creative industries, meant it could be a “model of rural development”.

Previous applications in 2018 and 2019 were for similar proposed uses but were withdrawn.

It is not yet clear whether a revised request will be submitted.

In its request, Oasis said the new part would have some separation from the existing business park and “would create a vibrant and enterprising business community at Clopton Business Park, with a wide variety of building sizes accommodating different enterprise scales “.

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