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Haverhill Town Council objects to proposal for convenience store and drive-thru coffee shop at site of ‘eyesore’ The Fox pub





Haverhill Town Council has objected to a proposal to demolish an eyesore disused pub and build a convenience store and drive-thru coffee shop.

As reported by SuffolkNews last month, a planning application was submitted to West Suffolk Council by Rutherford Holdings for full permission to flatten the former Fox pub next to the A143 in Little Wratting, on the edge of Haverhill, and construct the new business.

In April 2021 West Suffolk Council approved a full planning application - from a different applicant - to have the building knocked down and a pub/restaurant built in its place.

The Fox pub in Little Wratting, near Haverhill. Picture: Mark Westley
The Fox pub in Little Wratting, near Haverhill. Picture: Mark Westley

The revised proposal for the site provoked opposition from numerous councillors during the latest meeting of the town council’s planning committee, largely because they felt it would ‘undermine’ the local centres that are planned as part of the 2,500-home Great Wilsey Park and 1,190-home north west Haverhill housing schemes, for which many houses have already been vompleted.

Cllr Tony Brown said: “That was never in the plans, to have a store and coffee shop. There’s already local centres that are in the (Haverhill) Masterplan for that area.

“My concern in having that there is that it will totally undermine the local centres so they may not even happen, if this goes forward.

The Fox pub in Little Wratting, near Haverhill. Picture: Mark Westley
The Fox pub in Little Wratting, near Haverhill. Picture: Mark Westley

“A lot of residents there now have been told over the last few years when they were moving in that it would be a pub/restaurant and that’s not being offered.

“I welcome that it’s going to be developed. The place should be knocked down anyway because it’s an absolute eyesore and its on the gateway to the town.

“It’s a welcome investment but I think it’s in the wrong place and it will undermine the local centres on the Persimmon (north west Haverhill) and Redrow (Great Wilsey Park) estates.”

Cllr David Smith agreed, saying: “It’s not what we expected and not what we wanted.

Cllr John Burns voted against the planning proposal put forward for the derelict Fox pub. Picture: Mark Westley
Cllr John Burns voted against the planning proposal put forward for the derelict Fox pub. Picture: Mark Westley

“I think there’s much more call for a family style restaurant, especially in that part of the town.

“At the moment there’s nothing of that kind and with all those houses going up, I think it would be much more useful.”

Cllr Aaron Luccarini pictured when he was the deputy mayor of Haverhill in 2023/24. Picture: Henry Wilson
Cllr Aaron Luccarini pictured when he was the deputy mayor of Haverhill in 2023/24. Picture: Henry Wilson

Cllr John Burns said: “I agree with everything that has been said already.

“It was always to be included in the Masterplan that there would be a residential amenity here - to provide a proper food establishment.”

Cllr Burns later added: “This is going totally against the Masterplan.”

Cllr Aaron Luccarini, struck a more conciliatory tone, saying: “This would potentially reduce the amount of traffic going through those estates to the shops.

“From my point of view I think this would be a good thing for Haverhill.

“I’m very pleased to see the investment.

“If I had the choice I would go for the pub/restaurant but at the end of the day that’s disappeared.

“Those plans came in before Covid. We know the restaurant trade is not as strong as it was.

“They’ve already sold the land. We’ve got to move on.”

Councillors voted in favour of objecting to the proposal as part of the consultation process.