'Appalling' housing should be stopped

CAMPAIGNERS have called on the Government to use “special powers” to halt a new development they claim will “blight” a Suffolk town.

Laurence Cawley

CAMPAIGNERS have called on the Government to use “special powers” to halt a new development they claim will “blight” a Suffolk town.

Havebury Housing Partnership is set to build 30 new affordable homes on a slip of land in Out Westgate, Bury St Edmunds.

The developer maintains the new homes, which will replace eight pre-war flats, are desperately needed and will be “good quality”.

But Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS) says it is “disgusted” with the designs and has now called on the communities and local government secretary, Hazel Blears, to step in and quash the project.

Director Richard Ward said: “We are so disgusted with the substandard design of this appalling scheme that we have asked Hazel Blears to intervene.

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“Her office has written to tell us that she has default powers if a development is judged to be so grossly wrong that it would do serious damage to the wider public interest.

“We, among others, believe this to be a perfect example of where those powers should be used. I can think of no better public interest than providing well designed homes - both for the benefit of the residents living in them and for the wider community.”

But Havebury Housing Partnership strongly rejected the scheme was “substandard” and said it was “disappointed” by the society's comments.

Steve Cook, Havebury chief executive, said: “This development will provide good quality two, three and four bedroom homes.

“The homes are designed to space standards which are about 10% more than would be expected for privately built housing and Havebury will take care in both the allocation and management of the neighbourhood once it is completed.

“There are well over 4,000 people waiting for affordable rented accommodation in this area and Havebury has an obligation to maximise the use of the land it has available for housing.

“This development has been designed to responsibly utilise the land available for affordable housing.”

The 30 new homes are part of Havebury's 500-home programme for more affordable housing.

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