Unfinished 'eyesore' at Lantern flats in Bury St Edmunds under fire
The scruffy appearance of a newly-built block of flats in Bury St Edmunds has been branded an ‘eyesore’ this week.
The Ipswich Street resident car parking exit at the Lantern development, in Tayfen Road, is still unfinished, with a temporary fence securing the site.
A planning application was submitted by Rouf Homes Ltd in February to allow use of amended plans for an additional car parking space, changes to the Ipswich car and pedestrian access and independent access to a gym unit on the building’s Ipswich Street/Tayfen Road corner.
West Suffolk Council planners have not yet made a decision.
But a St John’s Street resident, who wished to remain anonymous, has spoken out about the continuing ‘eyesore’ appearance of the development’s car park.
They said: “This appears to be an entrance, although it is hard to tell if this is correct.
"It has been like this for more than a year (maybe getting on for two years) and is quite an eyesore.
“Anyone visiting Bury by train walking down Station Hill will have to pass this and it doesn’t give a good impression of the town.
“In addition, the plastic sheets covering some of the windows on that side of the building are torn and hanging off. The apartments are being advertised as of a good standard but this must surely put prospective buyers off – it would me.”
Another nearby resident said: “We can’t wait for it (the car park exit) to be finished.”
A third added: “We don’t like the entire development.”
The former EMG car sales site has been transformed after plans for 46 apartments and one commercial unit were granted approval by the planning inspector in February 2018 following an appeal.
The original plans were submitted to St Edmundsbury Borough Council in 2016.
A planning appeal was lodged in September 2017 after the council failed to make a decision on the plans within the expired decision-making period – which expired in July 2017.
In the latest revised plans, an extra parking space would be added as well as changes to vehicle and pedestrian access gates in Ipswich Street – a drawing shows inward gates set back five metres from the road.
The Lantern development has also come under fire for the large ‘Tayfen’ and ‘The Lantern’ signs painted across its rear exterior.
The paint job was likened to the Hollywood sign when it was unveiled last year, with some branding it ‘vile’.
Rouf Homes said: "Global factors have severely impacted labour and supply chains and this has meant completion of parts of our new building have been delayed.
"We have the bricks and windows on site to complete the north end of the building but areas inside have been more difficult and this end of the building is the only way we have of getting materials, vehicles and equipment in and out of the site.
"I’m sorry if this has caused issues for our neighbours. We’ve always tried to keep the pavement clear and maintain the necessary council permits for the ongoing works. In any case, we have scaffolding finally going up this week to complete the north end of the building and I hope this will be done within the next four to six weeks. I appreciate the patience of all concerned.
"The recent planning variation is for very minor revisions, which in this area of the building are specifically for the change from a sliding gate to a double hinged gate, set back five metres from the pavement and swinging inwards."
A new Nisa convenience shop will be opening in a ground floor unit at the Lantern development.
A Nisa spokeswoman confirmed a 3,000sqft shop would be opening thanks to an independent businessman, who has purchased the premises.
No date has been set for the store's opening, but the spokeswoman said staff would be recruited for the shop.