An appeal for more than 200 new homes is causing controversy in a Suffolk town.

The application, for 279 new homes off Barking Road in Needham Market, received 123 public objections.

It was rejected by Mid Suffolk District Council in April over fears of flooding, but the appeal against the decision was lodged in October.

The application, by Parker Planning Services on behalf of landowners David Willis, Marlene Perry, and Michael Watson, was the second to be refused by the council in the last few years.

The appeal procedure has come under fire by some town councillors, who say the hearing is to be held in Offton, which has no public transport links with Needham Market and little parking provision.

Town councillors argue that this may be acceptable for appeals with little public interest, but there were well over 100 responses to the appeal.

There is concern that the timetable to the eight-day appeal should be made available, so that residents know what time to set aside for attending and when important presentations may be made.

Needham Market Town Councillor Martin O’Shea said that the housing development was "unwanted and unnecessary", placing more pressure on the town.

"There is no commitment in place for further investment in that infrastructure and therefore additional housing development would impact seriously on the well-being of our local community," Mr O-Shea said.

"The local community recently and overwhelmingly supported the adoption of the Needham Market Neighbourhood Plan which clearly establishes there is no desire to see the town blighted by opportunist and piecemeal new housing development.”

The application has been twice recommended for refusal by planning officers, twice refused by the planning committee, and also faces objection from Barking Parish Council.

Mid Suffolk District Council said they would "robustly defend" the planning committee's refusal.

A Mid Suffolk District Council spokesperson said: “Information about this appeal has been published both by the Planning Inspectorate (PI) and on our own website to make the process as clear as possible.

"As well as the inquiry considering all the comments made on the application before its refusal, it will also hear any new online submissions made by residents."

The spokesperson added that Offton village hall was "the most appropriate venue available" and that they were arranging transport for residents providing statements "on the first day of the inquiry".

The spokeperson added: “As the LPA we know residents want to make their voices heard on planning applications in their communities. We want to accommodate this wherever possible.

"This application has twice been recommended for refusal by our officers, twice refused by our planning committee, and we will robustly defend this decision at the inquiry.”

The eight-day public inquiry will be conducted by the Planning Inspector from February 7 to February 17

The applicants have been approached for comment.