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Beck Row: Calls for Persimmon Homes to increase its financial contribution to the community over 166-home plans

PUBLISHED: 14:00 14 August 2014

RAF Mildenhall

RAF Mildenhall

A village facing 166 new homes has called on the scheme’s developers to boost their financial contribution to the community.

That was the message from Beck Row Parish Council as it urged Persimmon Homes to put more money into the Section 106 (S106) pot from its development off Skelton’s Drove, which is currently being considered by Forest Heath planners.

Developers of large schemes are required to pay S106 to local authorities to help mitigate the increased population’s impact on things such as schools, healthcare and libraries.

Persimmon already has permission to build 150 homes for United States Air Force (USAF) personnel at the Skelton’s Drove site, but is applying to alter the development to an open-market scheme due to lack of demand.

Under the old planning permission, Persimmon only has to pay an S106 total of around £260,000 – approximately £1,500 per house, although this will have risen with inflation.

In comparison, a scheme for 124 homes at Aspal Lane, Beck Row, has a S106 pot of more than £1million – closer to £8,000 per household.

Gary Peachey, the parish council chairman, told a council meeting on Tuesday: “The amounts stated in that contract don’t reflect today’s modern living.”

Martin Davidson, planning director of Persimmon Homes Anglia, said Persimmon could start building the approved 150-home scheme tomorrow if it wanted to, and has begun constructing some properties.

He added that while Suffolk County Council had sent a letter confirming the old S106 contribution was acceptable, he was open to negotiation.

Concerns were also raised at the meeting over the layout and appearance of the site and new houses overlooking nearby bungalows.

The parish council is also angry because it opposed the initial plans on the grounds USAF were never likely to take up the housing, and they were not consulted before the new plans were submitted.

The new proposals include no affordable housing, because Mr Davidson said Persimmon had paid too much for the land and providing affordable housing was not viable.

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David Vincent

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EADT writer David Vincent has more than 40 years experience in Suffolk. He has explored the highways and byeways of East Anglia, meeting homeowners, developers and estate agents from Bury St Edmunds to Aldeburgh and Colchester to Diss.