Retail park plans for derelict site in Haverhill set to include a home store
A derelict plot of land in Haverhill looks set to become a bustling retail park amid renewed hopes of investment for the town.
The long-vacant site, formerly home of the Project Office Furniture factory in Falconer Road, was bought by Cambridge property developers, the Howard Group, in 2008.
The site has been vacant since then, but it has now been confirmed a retail park is planned for the area, with retailers Lidl, Pets at Home and Home Bargains amongst those looking to set up on the site.
William Jewson, development director at the Howard Group, said the development could be good news for the town.
"I think people should be excited," he said. "I think it would be fantastic for the town. We have looked at it very carefully and think the more people you can bring in to Haverhill, the better.
"People talk about the stickiness of a town and how it keeps people there. People come in to town for a big shop and will then spend time walking down the High Street to spend money."
A planning application will be made in mid-November. Haverhill councillor, John Burns, said, in theory, there should not be no major obstacles to the development's going ahead.
"It [the land] has already got planning permission as a retail park," he said. "From my perspective, anything that brings investment to the town has to be worthwhile.
"I think it is a good mix of businesses, it may encourage other investors."
Colin Poole, Haverhill's town clerk, welcomed the idea of a retail park on the site.
"I think the fact the site has been empty and not contributing to the economic well-being of the town for so many years means people will be pleased to see something happening there.
"Economic stickiness is a really good way of putting it. We all know we can drive to Cambridge and get whatever we want, but you need to get in the car and it can take up the whole day. The more shops and variety in Haverhill, the better. You can do your shop and be home quickly.
"People can shop and we have got cheap, plentiful car parking in the town centre. I think the principle of this should be welcomed.
"All things being equal, I think it would be welcomed. I am sure councillors will have constructive criticisms to make when the time comes, but it is good news for the town. It is another jigsaw piece to complete the picture of Haverhill."