Call for resignation of Framlingham council chairman amid claims she “misled” discussions on Mount Pleasant scheme

Chairwoman of Framlingham Town Council, Carolyn Youngs

Chairwoman of Framlingham Town Council, Carolyn Youngs - Credit: Su Anderson

People in an east Suffolk town are calling on the chairman of their town council to resign after claims she “misrepresented” the views of fellow councillors and residents during a debate on a controversial planning application.

The area off Mount Pleasant in Framlingham which will now see 95 new homes built on it.

The area off Mount Pleasant in Framlingham which will now see 95 new homes built on it. - Credit: Archant

Members of the Framlingham Residents’ Assoication (FRAm) say the position of Carolyn Youngs, Framlingham Town Council chairman, has become “untenable”.

It follows a discussion on a 95-home development to be built on greenfield land at Mount Pleasant – Suffolk Coastal District Council approved the bid last Thursday.

At the meeting, Ms Youngs spoke in support of the scheme, despite previously voicing objections on behalf of the council.

Planning committee member Susan Harvey said when considering the application: “This morning I have swayed. I have not been swayed by anything officers have told me. I think the town council this morning have persuaded me that they are happy to build on that site.”

FRAm has long since been campaigning against the development on the grounds that it would bring too many houses to the town at once and would overwhlem infrastructure.

In a letter addressed to Framlingham Town Council clerk Eileen Coe, FRAm chairman Christopher Sharpe said: “Thursday was a sad day for Framlingham. The chair misrepresented the views of the town council, mislead the planning committee and influenced at least one member to vote for the application.

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“This undemocratic action of substituting her own views in such an important decision clearly makes her position on the town council untenable and we request that she resigns before any further damage is done.

“In the recent Neighbourhood Plan consultation more people voted against development on this site than in favour, so her statements are not only inaccurate, they cannot in any way be seen as reflecting the view of the town’s residents.”

District councillor for Framlingham, Christopher Hudson, said: “I fully support them in what they are doing. I feel that Suffolk Coastal District Council may well have been misled by what she said. I think councillor Harvey changed her vote and may have been misled.

“Perhaps we should revisit the application. The waters have been muddied and I think transparency is the main thing.”

Ms Youngs has described the letter as a “personal attack” and refutes the allegations.

She said: “I was introduced as chairman of Framlingham Town Council but the statement I read was one agreed by the Neighbourhood Plan Team, not a town council statement.”

She added that Mr Hudson has asked her “aggressive and intimidating questions”, including whether she was prepared to see Framlingham “concreted over” and whether she “purported to represent the residents of Framlingham”.

“All the questions were directed at me personally,” she said. “I was asked whether the comments were my personal opinion. I replied that most were neighbourhood plan but the last - ‘Do you approve of this proposed plan for Mount Pleasant?’ - answer ‘yes’ was my own personal opinion.”

She added that, of 259 valid responses to a neighbourhood plan consultation, 213 voted yes to the Mount Pleasant development and commented, 38 voted no and five voted both yes and no. Three provided comments but did not vote.

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