Wickham Market: Concerns continue over plans to build 65 homes on land south of Featherbroom Gardens
12:00 21 November 2012
CAMPAIGNERS are continuing to voice concerns over the impact a new housing estate could have on their two villages.
Hopkins Homes has tabled a bid with Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) to build 65 dwellings - 21 of which will be affordable homes – on land south of Featherbroom Gardens in Wickham Market. The proposals also include car parking, open space, landscaping and new access arrangements.
Wickham Market Parish Council is broadly supportive of the scheme but others have raised concerns about its potential impact, especially as it stretches to the parish boundary with neighbouring Pettistree. Dr Peter Elliott, who lives in Wickham Market, said 200 people had signed a petition against the development. He said he and others believed it was contrary to both local and national planing policy while the number of homes proposed represented an over development of the site and could potentially lead to “urban sprawl” into Pettistree.
“It’s not nimbyism,” he said. “We have a lot of people who have signed the petition from throughout the village. National planning policy says good quality agricultural land - which this is - shouldn’t be developed.” He said while he recognised the need for affordable housing in the village these should be in smaller units not “stuck on the edge of Wickham Market like a huge carbuncle.” He also said he felt residents were not listened to during the consultation process.
A number of people from both Wickham Market and Pettistree have written to SCDC echoing Mr Elliott’s comments, while among other issues they have also raised concerns over sewerage and traffic.
Wickham Market Parish Council is in favour of additional housing in the village and believes the site is appropriate, with members particularly keen to see more affordable homes. However they would like to see improvements to the current proposals for sewerage and landscaping. A spokeswoman for Hopkins Homes said they understood the petition included many people from outside the village. She said they were confident any concerns could be addressed, while the site had been identified by SCDC as suitable for 95 dwellings.
“We are obviously now proposing substantially less than this figure,” she said. “The proposed development fully respects the existing parish boundary with Pettistree, providing a robust landscaped, tree-lined soft edge in this sensitive location.” She said talks with statutory bodies had confirmed infrastructure was adequate and that extensive consultation had taken place with the local community.
SCDC is likely to decide the application in the New Year.