Mid Suffolk District Council has submitted plans for the future of their former offices in Needham Market and for the former Needham Market Middle School, including 135 new homes, a library and a new retail outlet.
The plans have been submitted as two planning applications, one for the former office site (including the Hurstlea Road car park) and one for the former middle school site and both are validated and available on the council’s Planning Pages.
The first, for the former office site, proposes 49 houses and 12 apartments on the former office site off the High Street, as well as 15 houses, 8 apartments and a single retail outlet on the former office car park on Hurstlea Road.
The listed building on the site, facing the High Street, will be retained and converted back to its original (residential) use, allowing restoration of surviving period details, character and the provision of quality residential accommodation. This building is proposed to house apartments as part of the plans. In addition, the historic bowling green behind the listed building will be maintained as a shared amenity space for residents of the development.
The plans include 20 car parking spaces for public use, in addition to 25 spaces for use with the retail outlet. This is in addition to private parking for residents. Vehicle access to the site would continue to be via Hurstlea Road, as was the case when the offices were operational. Far greater pedestrian access is included in the plans.
As part of the proposals the existing duck pond and surrounding open space would be retained, with landscaping works and improved access for the public included. As many trees as possible are to be retained on the site, with the proposals also including a scheme of new planting to ensure there is no net loss of trees. Existing memorial trees will be retained but may be relocated within the site.
Existing public recycling facilities, currently located in the Hurstlea Road car park, will also be retained at another location on the site.
The second application, for the former Middle School site, proposes 33 houses and 8 flats on the site, while retaining the existing Victorian building and converting it into a library for the use of Suffolk Libraries, who currently operate a library on the site. The plans would see the new library in the Victorian building open and operating before the current library building is demolished.
In total the proposals include the following on the former office site:
While the proposals for the former car park on Hurstlea Road include:
And the housing on the former Middle School site consists of:
The proposals were drawn up by Purcell Architects following public consultation earlier this year.
The planning application follows closely behind the submission of plans by Mid Suffolk District Council for the former Needham Market Middle School site on School Street, where 41 dwellings are proposed including a mix of two and three bedroom units and one and two bedroom flats. In total across the two sites Mid Suffolk propose to build 135 new homes in Needham Market, of which 51 would be affordable housing, including 28 for affordable rent and 23 offered for affordable home ownership.
Mid Suffolk are also looking to assist in enhancing Needham Market Community Centre, with a contribution to support a new home for the Community Internet Café incorporated within an extension, subject to planning, of the community centre.
Cllr Nick Gowrley, Mid Suffolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Assets and Investment, said: “We’ve always been determined to leave our former office site empty for as little time as possible, and this planning application is the next step to bringing the site back into use. By offering residential and retail units, as well as retaining the listed buildings, we can secure the future of the site and see it develop into a key part of the town centre.
“Along with the affordable housing, library and community facilities on the former Middle School site, these applications could help Needham thrive for years to come.”
The proposals will now be considered by Mid Suffolk District Council’s Planning Officers before going to one of Mid Suffolk’s Development Control Committees in the new year.