Darsham: Village is split on projects for homes, new hall and green

Darsham - development plans have split the village.

Darsham - development plans have split the village. - Credit: Archant

Proposals have been unveiled to transform the heart of a Suffolk community with 35 new homes, and a new village hall and green.

But the plans for Darsham have split the village – and planners are not happy with part of the project.

Two separate schemes have been submitted to Suffolk Coastal council.

One envisages 15 homes, with up to six affordable properties, on Fox Field, land to the west of Mill House in The Street, Darsham.

The second project has been put forward by Darsham Village Hall Trust, Hillfairs Farming Ltd and the Phipps Family for land to rear of Chapel Cottages in The Street and would be used for a new village hall, creation of a village green, and 20 houses, four of them affordable homes and four low-cost.

The existing village hall would be demolished.

The district council’s north area development management sub committee is due to discuss both plans on January 8 – and is recommended to approve the Fox Field development, but refuse the hall, homes and green scheme.

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Nine letters of objection have been received against the village hall scheme with residents concerned that the project, along with others pending, would create too many new houses in the village, damage a fine open outlook, and lead to unacceptable extra traffic.

It would also create estate-sized development and be out of keeping with the village.

Darsham Parish Council though is in favour – feeling that 20 new homes was a cost the village would have to pay to get a new, modern £300,000 hall.

In a report, Suffolk Coastal planning case officer Patsy Dobson said: “The numbers of benefits of the scheme need to be balanced against the negatives and unknowns of the proposal and whether or not other more modest options are available which could result in a replacement village hall.

“Further discussion needs to take place with all the stakeholders to understand the full implications of providing 20 dwellings in this location to support the provision of the village hall.

“The current proposal is considered unacceptable in its current form as there is insufficient justification that 20 dwellings is the minimum required to provide a village hall and cannot be supported.”

Although the district council feels the Fox Field scheme is acceptable and would provide affordable housing not only for Darsham but also neighbouring villages, ten letters of objection have been received and the parish council was evenly split on whether to accept or reject.