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Concern for Framlingham as town faces twice the number of recommended houses

PUBLISHED: 22:25 27 January 2015 | UPDATED: 22:25 27 January 2015

Protesters gathered in Fairfield Road in Framlingham to protest about the proposed housing development.

Protesters gathered in Fairfield Road in Framlingham to protest about the proposed housing development.

Archant

A market town in east Suffolk is facing applications for nearly twice as many new homes as the planning authority has recommended to be completed over the next 12 years.

Community leaders in Framlingham have seized upon Suffolk Coastal District Council’s “issues and options consultation”, which identifies “early thoughts” to build 75-150 new homes in the town by 2027.

Applications for a total of 298 new homes are already pending in the town, which has led to calls for a more cautious approach to housing, built gradually and matched with appropriate infrastructure.

Framlingham Residents’ Association (FRAm) chairman Christopher Sharpe said the figures justified his group’s opposition to the Fairfield Road and Mount Pleasant proposals, which together would account for 270 new homes.

“It shows quite clearly that the Local Plan never intended development on the scale that has been proposed,” he said.

“It’s nearly double the upper limit that the town would be expected to accommodate and it’s been allocated in the shortest possible time.”

FRAm held protests in opposition to the developments last week when SCDC’s north area planning committee visited the proposed sites.

Members of the group claim the new housing will overburden the town’s roads, schools and health services as well as taking away valuable greenfield sites.

Christopher Hudson, who is one of Framlingham’s district councillors, has sympathised with the group’s concerns, which he says are widely felt.

“I think Framlingham has already gone above and beyond the call of duty, when you look at what’s been approved,” he added.

SCDC said the figure represented “early thoughts” as part of its wider target to build 7,900 new homes across the district by 2027.

The 269 homes which were either granted approval or completed between 2010 and 2014, including the 100-property development in Station Road, are considered separately.

A council spokesman said the specific figures and sites for development “will be for the people of Framlingham to determine” in their neighbourhood plan.

Framlingham Town Council, which agreed to develop the neighbourhood plan, setting out a framework for the town’s future, said figures highlighted how important it was for people to be involved in the project.

But with the plan still some way from completion and the two most significant housing applications due for a decision next month, Mr Hudson said it may be “too little too late”.

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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.

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