Controversial carpark proposal scrapped

Controversial proposals to build a carpark in one of Suffolk’s most treasured landscapes have been scrapped in the face of huge public opposition.

The site of the proposed car park was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN
The site of the proposed car park is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Snape Maltings, the internationally renowned concert hall, had been exploring proposals for a 470-space grass-surfaced car parking area on Snape Marshes to overcome its current capacity challenges.

Although project leaders had stressed their commitment to protect the environment, the plans had been met with fierce opposition.

Today, the organisation has announced it will no longer pursue the idea, saying it had “listened to the concerns of local residents regarding the conservation of Snape’s remarkable natural environment”.

“Creating additional car parking capacity in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), close to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) presents a huge challenge,” it said.

“The landscape is, quite rightly, highly protected. Snape Maltings has only been interested in exploring the idea further if it could be demonstrated that a parking area could be created without spoiling the remarkable views of the Alde Estuary and without harming the habitats of the abundant wildlife in the area.

“Having discussed the idea with local residents, environmental bodies and professional advisors, and having investigated the potential complexities and costs of the project in more detail, Snape Maltings has concluded that the Snape Marshes idea is not viable.”

The announcement comes after an online petition opposing the plans gained more than 2,000 signatures and hundreds of comments in just a few days. People signing the petition described the plans as a “disgrace” and a “tragedy” which would harm one of the most “peaceful and beautiful places in the country”.

A paper petition had previously gathered hundreds of signatures from local residents and visitors to Snape.

Derek Walduck, a member of the group formed behind the petitions, previously said Snape had been “unified” in opposition to the “madness” of the proposals.

He said that while people loved Snape Maltings and could recognise the need to secure its future, the carpark would “trash” one of the “most iconic views in Suffolk”.

Snape Maltings said it would explore other parking solutions and give an update in autumn.

Posted in Village News.