MORE than 200 people turned out in force to have their say on plans to demolish a sports centre and former theatre and build 49 homes in their place.

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The drop-in session was held to allow villagers to view proposals for Sycamore Drive in Rendlesham. Residents were also able to see how the Neighbourhood Plan is progressing, which outlines how the community will grow.

Developers have tabled an application with Suffolk Coastal District Council to knock down the former Jets gym to pave the way for 23 two and three bedroomed homes, as well as demolish the old Angel Theatre ahead of building 26 similarly sized properties.

But the parish council has voiced its concerns, saying it is confident that both buildings can be saved and used for additional community and retail facilities.

Heather Heelis, clerk to the parish council, said: “The drop-in session was very well attended and there was a good mix of people - both young and old. People feel very strongly. There was overwhelming opposition to the housing proposals. The aim of the Neighbourhood Plan is to re-invigorate the village and provide more shops and community facilities. We are a lot bigger than other places yet they have many facilities that Rendlesham doesn’t - such as a library or range of shops. However by keeping these two building we have a chance. If the application is approved and the houses are built this will be lost.”

She added that people’s objections will now be handed to Suffolk Coastal and that parish councillors were hoping to meet with district representatives next week to discuss the situation further.

A spokesman for the district authority said - as with every planning application - they would take everyone’s views into consideration when making a decision.

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