Protesters seek to stop multi-million pound redevelopment of Peterborough's British Sugar headquarters

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Campaigners are battling to halt plans for a supermarket and homes development on British Sugar's headquarters site in Peterborough.

Protesters have lodged numerous objections to the proposals for the multi-million pound redevelopment of the site off Oundle Road, in Woodston, which are due to come before Peterborough City Council's planning committee on December 18.

Residents fear a major increase in traffic levels if the plans for a Lidl-operated supermarket with car park plus a 70 homes development on the 2.57 hectare site are approved by councillors.

Many also say there is no need for the supermarket, which they claim will have an adverse impact on existing retailers, and are calling for the plans to be rejected.

But British Sugar says its 1970s-built offices are no longer fit for purpose and it plans to move some 250 staff to purpose built offices in Cygnet Way, Hampton.

Council officers have recommended the plans, which attracted 64 letters of objection and three letters of support, be approved.

But ward representative Councillor Alan Dowson in a statement to the council, warns: "I and a number of residents have serious concerns in respect of this application.

"The majority of residents are opposed to the application.

"There is a question over the need for another food store in the area. The traffic situation will create a large problem. The plan for 70 houses is too large for the site, and will create problems for local facilities, such as doctors, schools etc.

He adds: "No consideration is given to the possibility of using the main and attractive office building as the shop."

Objections have also been received from the Twentieth Century Society and Peterborough Civic Society, which object to the loss of the so-called Arup building that fronts the site.

Designed by Arup Associates, the office and hexagonal link block date from 1971-1975 and are said to have featured the most up to date environmental technology.

The civic society states: "The loss of the Arup buildings and replacement with a Lidl store of unexceptional design would degrade the quality of the built environment and not make a positive contribution towards it."

However, recommending approval, officers state: "The principle of residential use on this site is considered to be acceptable and compatible with the surrounding land uses.

"In terms of retail impact the greatest impact will be on the adjacent Valley Park Local Centre.

"There will be an impact on the Budgens store which anchors this centre.

"However on balance it is not considered that the impact would be significantly adverse.

They add: "The quality and significance of the building on site to be lost is not considered to be so high, that the harm caused by its loss justifies the prevention of the proposed redevelopment of this site for housing and retail use."

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