BABERGH planning chiefs have hinted that they could bow to pressure from residents who are fighting to secure more affordable homes in their historic village.

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Lavenham residents are urging the local authority to ensure that a sufficient number of affordable units are included in a new 44-home estate planned for the former Armorex factory site.

They have also criticised plans for the 1.48ha plot - which lies between Frogs Hall Road, Bury Road and Preston Road - for not taking local housing needs into consideration.

A discussion about the proposed scheme for the Armorex site was deferred in November and a new date for the plans to go before the council’s planning committee is yet to be set. In the meantime, the parish council has written to Babergh again urging them to double the amount of affordable housing currently included in the plans. Although the authority has not yet sent an official reply, a spokesman told the EADT that residents concerns had been taken on board.

Parish council chairman Roy Whitworth said most properties in Lavenham were ‘too big and expensive’ for younger residents looking to buy their first home, or for older residents hoping to downsize and stay in the village. He added: “In conjunction with Suffolk ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) we have undertaken a housing needs survey which cites the need for 80 affordable homes in the village for local needs.

“Babergh’s current planning policy states that for sites of a certain size, the development should provide 35% affordable housing. The proposal for the Armorex site as it stands is far less then 10% which is clearly not enough. So we have written to Babergh arguing that the developers have got their figures wrong.”

The Babergh spokesman confirmed that the council would be seeking to secure 35% affordable housing on the application site in line with its planning policies for a development of that size.

He added: “As an exception to our normal approach, due to the number of local people needing housing and also the current difficulty in securing a site for a local needs scheme, we will also consider securing some of these units for local people.”

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