October 9, 2021

Friends Garage Site concerns update

The attached survey has been distributed to homes in Orford by the planning consultant on behalf of the proposed developer. This action has caused some concern as there has been no dialogue with the Friends of Orford Community Interest Company and the Parish Council meeting on Wednesday 13th October will discuss the implications of this action.


At the meeting the consensus was that the developer wants to squeeze too many properties onto a reduced area (The dilapidated Seaforth House plot on the corner of Ferry Road has been removed from the original plans) and the commercial element is being reduced to a non viable level to enable this.
The council has agreed to delegate responsibility for interacting with the planning consultant/developer to the Friends of Orford Community Interest Company to ensure the best possible solution for the community. The Friends initial response can be found here https://www.orford.org.uk/community/friends-of-orford-community-interest-company

Whatever the outcomes from any discussions between the OCIC and the developer, everyone still has the option to respond directly to the survey and any subsequent application for planning permission.

The Friends Garage site has stood empty for over two years. Everyone wants to see it redeveloped. The CGI image shows how the site could look in one to two years. However, the local community’s input to the redevelopment is key and hence your views are invited to comment on a proposal for a mixed redevelopment for a food store alongside new housing. Further detail of each of the elements is provided below.

The scheme contains:

Food shop of about 175 – 250m2 floorspace with a clear span
Modern, purpose built, convenient shop layout with good access
Car Parking and electric vehicle charging points
Cycle storage and parking for two wheeled vehicles
Affordable housing
The proposed affordable housing comprises:

2no. 1-bed apartments for affordable rent located at first floor level above the shop
1no. 2-bed house for discount market sale

The key feature of the scheme is a new Foodstore. The Orford Community Investment Company have supported a new food store being located on the site. Our commercial research suggests that a Foodstore of about 200m2 floorspace is viable and sustainable in Orford. That’s about 3 times the size of the floorspace in the existing local store. The store would be built FIRST by the developer completing all of the building and primary services as well as the shop front. In addition, all external works including cycle storage, car parking, electric vehicle charging points and the access, leaving the retailer to complete a ‘fit out’ and signage. The developer’s intention would be that priority would be given to a locally supported community group or company to acquire or to lease the store.

Rather than pay a commuted sum to the Local Authority to provide affordable housing elsewhere, the developer is committed to providing affordable housing on the site. This could happen if there is community support for it.

The developer’s obligation at first sight would be to provide 3 of the proposed 10 housing units as affordable housing in accordance with the usual planning policy. However, the existing buildings on site mean that the obligation can be reduced to two units and only one of those would be for affordable rent with the other as a discount market sale. However, the developer of this scheme is willing to offer an additional apartment for affordable rent. The developer will look to transfer the affordable rented apartments to the Parish Council or to the Town Trust. The two affordable rented apartments and the discounted market sale house would be subject to local priority connection for letting and for sale.

For more detail visit artisan-pps.co.uk/orford

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