Council to look over ideas for site
IDEAS for the development of the disused St John's Road allotments at Bungay are to be put to the town council by those who own the site.And if the owners, Preston Andrews of Jetspark and local businessman George Ling are encouraged by the council's reaction it could lead to a plan being submitted for a 60-bed specialist care unit for those suffering from dementia being submitted to Waveney District Council.
IDEAS for the development of the disused St John's Road allotments at Bungay are to be put to the town council by those who own the site.
And if the owners, Preston Andrews of Jetspark and local businessman George Ling are encouraged by the council's reaction it could lead to a plan being submitted for a 60-bed specialist care unit for those suffering from dementia being submitted to Waveney District Council.
Mr Andrews told the Journal that if it went ahead it could create 55 full and part-time jobs, and also leave room for about a third of the site to become allotment land again.
He emphasised that at present they were only ideas for the site, which he was putting forward as a community project.
“We have some ideas we want to put to the council to see if we can win support for a 60-bed specialist dementia care unit,” Mr Andrews said. “There are 700,000 people with dementia in this country and that figure will double in the next 30 years. We haven't got any plans, we are simply going to run our ideas past the town council to see what they think.”
Mr Andrews and his partner Mr Ling, and undertaker and well known figure in Bungay who lives adjacent to the site in Wingfield Street, have commissioned the services of experts and a planning consultant.
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“We want to try to deliver a community project which benefits many people in the town and not just one sector. We don't need all the land for the unit, and we are going to donate a portion to the town of Bungay - about a third of the site - to be used for allotments.”
He knew there were those in Bungay who would like to see the whole site returned to allotment use, but his ideas were a compromise which would take into account the need for employment and of the sick.
“The land given for allotments would be used I perpetuity - with the recession there is a renewed demand for them,” he said, and he would welcome the chance to discuss the thoughts with the council.
Mr Andrews, whose company is based near Bury St Edmunds, said the care unit could create 25 full time and 30 part-time jobs, with up to 60 people in all being cared for there. He said he was trying to be honest with the council and the people of Bungay in his ideas for the site.
In the past the council has been concerned about access to the site when previous plans have been put forward - it would have to be from Wingfield Street or Pilgrims Way, neither if which, it has felt, are satisfactory.
But the Mayor, John Groom, said later that it could be a good use for the site, if it was allowing some land to be used for allotments again.
“It could be a good result, if it gets through planning, and I have no problem with it,” he said. “Access is always a problem for any development, but there will be less traffic with a nursing home than if it was housing and that is a positive in some respects.
“If it is another area of unused land that can be developed that is fine.”
At their meeting on Monday councillors accepted the offer from Mr Andrews to address them on the thoughts, and the Town Clerk is to make the arrangements for him to come to a meeting in the next couple of months.