A site earmarked for business beside the A11 at Red Lodge has been approved for housing after nobody showed interest in it for eight years.
Forest Heath’s development control committee last night decided to grant outline permission to Jaynic Properties for 125 homes and public open space on a triangular site on Newmarket Road near the A11 roundabout. The developers argued that though the site has been on the market for ‘employment use’ for eight years, nobody has wanted to use it.
Forest Heath commissioned the business estate agents Merrifields to report on whether a ‘serious attempt’ at marketing it had been made.
Gordon Ellis at Merrifields concluded that there had been a genuine attempt to market the property. But he added: “I do not believe the site is viable, which is why it has not sold, and this is primarily because it is not a location that is going to attract occupiers.
“It is remote without appropriate commercial infrastructure and support services and it is more profitable to build B1 premises at an established commercial town.”
The council’s planning officers say in the light of the Merrifields report it seems the applicants have complied with planning policy and add giving permission would not prejudice the district plan the council is developing.
They also say the national planning framework says polices ‘should avoid the long term protection of sites allocated for employment”, though the council’s economic development and growth committee objected to the loss of the site to business.
Officer recommended councillors approve the plan subject to Section 106 contributions to local schooling, libraries and health.