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Council has a plan for ‘Padlock House’

By Mike Scialom

Eye, Suffolk. Paddock House on Wellington Street. ''Picture: MARK BULLIMORE
Eye, Suffolk. Paddock House on Wellington Street. ''Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

It is referred to by some in Eye as ‘Padlock House’.

But Mid Suffolk District Council insists it has the “right proposals” for the former care home in the town.

It’s a big decision for an important place in our district so we’re not going to rush this...
Jill Wilshaw, cabinet member for housing, Mid Suffolk District Council

The authority bought Paddock House from Suffolk County Council earlier this year. The site, in Wellington Road, also included the former day care centre.

At the time Nick Gowrley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, said he was “extremely pleased” with the purchase – and said they would work to turn the site into places to live “for local people”.

This prompted a group of Eye residents into action, who canvassed opinion in front of the boarded-up building in May.

Former town councillor Merlin Carr was one of group, keen to ensure local people were consulted.

Their findings were sent to Mid Suffolk District Council. But he says they did not hear anything back – or even an acknowledgement it had been received.

Mid Suffolk District Council says they will work closely with the town council to arrange a public consultation.

“They are playing the game according to their rules and being rather inflexible,” Mr Carr told the Diss Express.

“What he had hoped is we would be in on discussions from a much earlier stage.

“I think personally speaking the town council have been proactive and have been entered into all sorts of dialogue with Mid Suffolk District Council.”

Mr Carr hoped Mid Suffolk District Council would come up with “imaginative” plans for the former care home.

“I think there is all sorts of possibilities for it,” he said. “I think the district council need to not look at knocking everything down and starting again, but maybe taking an imaginative look at what is there at the moment.

“It is quite a large building which could be developed and split into small units or flats or apartments for people to live in.”

Jill Wilshaw, cabinet member for housing, said: “Our team have been working hard with our new development partner Iceni Homes for the future of Paddock House over the past few months, and we’ll be working closely with Eye Town Council, meeting with them in January to arrange a public consultation to chat through our plans at an early stage.

“It’s a big decision for an important place in our district so we’re not going to rush this, but once we’re confident we have the right proposals for Eye, we and the Town Council will go out to the public together to give everyone the full details of the proposals in the spring.”

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