Former Fisons site
The Council remains committed to achieving a satisfactory outcome for the community. We are currently exploring engagement options, which will allow for feedback on the site and its potential use.
We appreciate concerns raised by local residents about the site’s current state. This webpage aims to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
Any further queries about the site can be submitted by emailing our Communities team.
We will respond to your queries directly. We will also update this webpage with answers to common queries and the latest developments.
What happened to the site?
In May 2019, fire crews were called to the Grade II-listed former Fisons warehouse on Paper Mill Lane in Bramford.
Over 60 firefighters from Suffolk and Essex attended the scene but sadly the building - which dates back to 1858 - was destroyed by the blaze.
Is the site secure?
Shortly after the fire, Mid Suffolk District Council’s building control team issued a Counter Notice to the landowner under Section 81 of the Building Act 1984.
The notice outlines the need to obtain planning and listed building consent before any demolition work is carried out, and to maintain security at the site.
Regular site visits are carried out by the landowner, although these have been less frequent due to the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
Following reports received by Mid Suffolk District Council’s building control team in April 2020, repairs were made to the perimeter fencing and gates by the landowner to improve site security.
Three reports of trespassing were submitted to the police during the past year, who carried out site visits to investigate further.
What is being done about fly-tipping on site?
There have been fewer reports of fly-tipping on the former factory site itself since the fire.
During the past year, four reports of small scale fly-tipping around the boundary of the site, on Paper Mill Lane, were resolved by our Public Realm team.
Anyone witnessing fly-tipping at the site should call 999 if the incident is still in progress or report it to us so we can investigate further.
Has the site got planning permission?
There is no planning permission for development of the site. The landowner has contacted Mid Suffolk District Council for pre-application advice. However, this stage of the process is confidential, and we cannot disclose any details.
When will work resume on site?
Demolition work has already started on the site’s listed buildings. Works were carried out to secure the fire damaged structure and eliminate the risk of potential collapse.
Before further demolition work can occur on these listed buildings, there are conditions attached to the planning consent which must be discharged.
Under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (as amended), no time limit is attached to consent. This means we cannot specify when the works should take place.
The pandemic has slowed progress on site, with the landowner advising that most of its staff have been furloughed since the first lockdown began last March.
Due to ongoing uncertainty arising from the pandemic, and its subsequent restrictions, a timetable for works to resume on site is yet to be confirmed. However, positive discussions about the site’s future use continue to take place between our planning team and the landowner.
Although we cannot control the delays to progress resulting from the pandemic, the future of Fisons remains high on our agenda. We are hopeful that works will resume later this year.
What is Mid Suffolk District Council going to do?
Derelict buildings remain the responsibility of the landowner. However, we are pursuing all available options to ensure the safety and visual amenity of the site, in addition to securing appropriate future redevelopment.
We are currently seeking legal advice about serving an ‘amenity’ notice to the landowner, if the site continues to be in an unreasonably untidy condition. We believe the current condition will have an adverse effect on the amenity of the area.
This is done under section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, with the aim of:
- improving the quality of the environment
- assisting in tackling dereliction (whilst retaining land in a productive use),
- contributing to the regeneration of an area
- responding positively to public concerns
The notice will specify what action needs to be taken by the landowner to correct the situation within a given timescale.
Our legal team is also reviewing alternative legislation at length. This includes, but is not limited to, the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 and the Building Act 1984.
How will the site’s history be protected?
Mid Suffolk District Council has continued to take steps to ensure that local heritage is still preserved. As part of this, the landowner has to carry out further photographic recording of the site - to be added to the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service Archive.
We have also requested that the landowner provides a programme of works. This is in addition to their steps to review and salvage appropriate materials, for reuse in any future development at the site.