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Approval given for Aldeburgh's Crossways site

4 January 2013

Subject to a number of conditions to offset thepotential risks of flooding, and protect the residential amenity of local residents, an application for a new retail convenience food store plus five flats has been given the go-ahead at the former Crossways petrol station site on Saxmundham Road, Aldeburgh.

Today’s (Friday) meeting of the North Area Development Control Sub-Committee spent more than three hours discussing the merits of the application and taking account of the views expressed by the public.

“This has been a controversial application that has generated a great deal of comment about whether a convenience store should be approved or not. The reality is that there were no sound planning grounds to oppose the retail use,” said Cllr Bob Snell, Chairman of the Sub-Committee.

“Giving the scheme the go-ahead means that there will be an additional convenient retail store serving the town’s residents, as many as 20 jobs will be created and an eye-sore site that has been empty since 2004 will now be put back to use,” added Cllr Snell.

As there are there are no vacant units in the town centre, Aldeburgh is considered by retail planning experts to be a viable shopping area, and a new food retailer should not have any negative impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre.

“Our planning officers did question whether the flats above the retail unit should be built as it is in a flood-risk area, but having considered all the evidence, the committee took the view that as the Environment Agency was satisfied that the flood risk could be adequately mitigated, the overall community benefits of the development were more important.  Subject to certain conditions about access, parking and manoeuvring, County Highways also had no objection.

“The concerns that some have expressed about a national name coming to the town are not planning reasons to reject this or any application, nor was there enough other evidence to justify ignoring established planning policies.

“As long as the developer meets our planning conditions, including those about mitigating the risks of potential flood, then local residents will gain from having an additional small new food convenience store, as well as – at long last – the removal of what some may consider has become a blot on the landscape,” added Cllr Snell.

The application would see four two-bed flats and a single one bed-flat being built on top of the convenience store, plus at least 13 parking spaces for shoppers.