Community centre bid fails

A BOLD bid by a town council to ask for a substantial sum of money for a community centre for their rapidly expanding market town has failed.Suffolk Coastal District Council warned yesterday it would be an unprecedented move and against policy to allow a housing developer to give the cash instead of building affordable houses.

Richard Smith

A BOLD bid by a town council to ask for a substantial sum of money for a community centre for their rapidly expanding market town has failed.

Suffolk Coastal District Council warned yesterday it would be an unprecedented move and against policy to allow a housing developer to give the cash instead of building affordable houses.

The council has a strict policy about the proportion of low cost houses that must be built to ensure that house prices do not go out of the reach of local people.


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The council's development control sub committee agreed to allow the former railway station site off Station Road, Framlingham, to be used for 140 homes.

Officers had been negotiating a �200,000 payment by developers Hopkins Homes and in return the number of low cost homes would be reduced by five.

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But the district council decided this was not a good idea and Marian Andrews, Saxmundham's district councillor, said: ''Saxmundham would feel that a precedent had been set.

''Hopkins Homes have an agreement for 145 houses in Saxmundham, up Church Hill, and one third of those will be affordable homes.

''We are also in desperate need of a community centre and if I was to go back to Saxmundham and say that Framlingham was getting �200,000 towards a community centre on the back of a reduction in affordable houses, then I think there would be complete and utter uproar.''

Ivan Jowers, chairman of the sub committee, said: ''I would suggest that housing is much more important than a community centre and it would be difficult to have one rule for one town, and one for another.

''We would be opening the flood gates and everyone would be getting on the bandwagon. This is a unique situation but there are other places in the district who have successfully raised money themselves.

''Playford, with only 200 people, has a �250,000 new village hall. Framlingham could put a levy on their council tax.''

Framlingham town council said the town ''notoriously lacks'' a community centre and it was wholly justifiable to ask Hopkins Homes for a contribution.

The town is preparing for a major expansion. The 3,340 residents will be swelled by hundreds more people living in the new estate and permission has recently been granted for housing at Castle Brooks.

There is also land available for nearly 30 homes in the centre of the Station Road site which is owned by Bennett Homes.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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