Friend’s Garage site development update

Posted on February 20, 2019

19th February 2019

FRIENDS GARAGE – an update

The proposed developer of the Friends garage site, Mike North, has formally withdrawn the planning application DC/18/5246/FUL lodged in December. This must in large part be in response to the overwhelming response of those who submitted their views to the Council planners and/or signed the petition calling for the application to be refused. It has been a great team effort and has certainly made our collective concerns about the site’s future very clear at Suffolk Coastal Council and its Planning Department.

Alongside that response, a group of Orford residents (Ian Watkins, Nick Gold, Edward Greenwell and Harry Cole) have been working to set up a Community Interest Company (or a similar entity) to retain a fuel and retail outlet of reasonable size and layout on the site. They have been in discussion with Mike North and Tom Massey (the owner) about a revised proposal that retains this key commercial facility and provides a larger area for a fuel pump and for an enhanced retail space, accessed off Front Street. These discussions have been useful so far, and we hope that in due course a revised proposal will emerge leading to a planning application which provides what the community needs.

We hope to agree terms for the acquisition of the required part of the site in the near future. We would then progress plans for the exact layout and appearance of this new village asset. From this a business plan would be developed, which would form the basis to seek funding to make this opportunity a reality. A number of people have already offered their generous support and the idea is that this key community asset should in future be held for the benefit of those in Orford and the surrounding villages.

There will be more updates to follow at significant moments via this newsletter, the Village Voice and communications from the Parish Council.

Harry Cole