In November 2017 Babergh District Council vacated its old offices at Corks Lane in Hadleigh. Following this, we have been hard at work on plans for the future of the site. At public exhibitions on 11 April and 18 April 2018 we displayed redevelopment plans to the public.
The proposals for the site have been drawn up by Babergh District Council, working with Purcell Architects and the Lawson Planning Partnership to propose a new future for the site. You can find the details below, or view the full exhibition boards that will be displayed at our public events.
The story so far
We at Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils began working together in 2011, creating a shared workforce and a single Chief Executive to serve both councils. From 2011 to 2017 this workforce operated out of two HQ buildings, in Hadleigh and in Needham Market.
In 2016 Babergh District Councillors made the decision to relocate from these buildings to Endeavour House in Ipswich, creating a single HQ sharing space with other public sector bodies, while continuing to deliver services within the district, including at a new public access point in Sudbury.
The decision was in part a result of appraisals of the Hadleigh site, which showed that the buildings were no longer fit for purpose to fulfil local government functions. The reasons for this included the poor circulation routes around the buildings and the listing of much of the space, creating a barrier to redesign. The cost of mitigating this and bringing the buildings up to modern office standards would have been prohibitive.
Instead, as a result of the move to Endeavour House, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils will save an estimated £5.8 million over the next decade in HQ costs, allowing that money to be reinvested in council services.
With the offices vacant a design and planning team has focused on the regeneration and redevelopment of the site, informed by soft market testing to identify suitable uses and options. This work has confirmed that demand for commercial office space at this location is extremely limited.
Understanding the site
The former offices are a unique site, with both opportunities offered and constraints imposed by its location. The opportunities include:
However, any plans to seize these opportunities must be balanced by the constraints, including:
After analysing several possibilities for the site, one has been identified as the preferred option, consisting of a 100% residential development, including retention of many parts of the buildings on both the current office site and the office car park site across the Brett, including Bridge House.
The proposals the Council are considering would see a mixture of both houses and apartments, as well as associated parking, constructed on the site. This would comprise:
More details of these proposals are outlined on the exhibition boards.
Benefits of the proposals
These proposals would bring a vacant brownfield site back into use with a mix of good quality housing and local benefits. This necessary regeneration would also result in a sustainable development that could viably be delivered within a suitable timeframe.
What happens next?
These options will not appear overnight: there is still considerable work to be done on each, including public engagement and listening to the feedback we received.
Over the coming months work will begin on deciding how the development can be delivered. The next stage, once this work is complete, will be for Planning and Listed Building Applications to be submitted for the site: this is expected to be in late summer 2018.
In addition to the engagement currently being undertaken, the Applications will include planning consultation, allowing residents and stakeholders to comment on the plans and have their views considered by Babergh District Council's Planning Committee.