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Legal fight launched to block ‘cheese wedges’ housing plans

PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:41 23 January 2020

A visualisation of what the Melton Hill redevelopment could look like Picture: HOOPERS ARCHITECTS/AUPG

A visualisation of what the Melton Hill redevelopment could look like Picture: HOOPERS ARCHITECTS/AUPG

Hoopers Architects/AUPG

A legal challenge has been launched to block controversial proposals for 100 new homes, described as ‘cheese wedges’ by opponents.

A CGI aerial view of the proposed development Picture: HOOPERS ARCHITECTSA CGI aerial view of the proposed development Picture: HOOPERS ARCHITECTS

Woodbridge residents are seeking a judicial review into the approval of plans to redevelop Suffolk Coastal Council's old Melton Hill offices.

East Suffolk Council approved the application in October, despite more than 200 objections, including from Woodbridge and Melton councils. It was the third application for the site since developer Active Urban won the council contract to redevelop it in 2016, with a £6m bid.

Barry Zins, one of the residents behind the review, said there had been widespread opposition to all three applications - and concern about affordable housing. He also claimed planning policies had been disregarded.

The council said it would "robustly defend its decision" to grant planning permission.

The former headquarters in Melton Hill were vandalised and later boarded up Picture: ANDREW HIRSTThe former headquarters in Melton Hill were vandalised and later boarded up Picture: ANDREW HIRST

Active Urban's first application received provisional approval in October 2017 but was withdrawn the following year due to concerns over costs.

A second application, for half the number of affordable homes, was submitted to overcome the challenges but refused in November 2018. Active Urban's appeal against the refusal has not yet been heard.

Although the latest application reinstated the original provision of 32 affordable homes - opponents claimed the number of affordable rooms was still too low, as most were one-bed flats.

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Caroline Page, who represents Woodbridge at Suffolk County Council, also said the inclusion of 24 flats for "intermediate housing", which can mean shared ownership, should not be considered as affordable housing.

The application was approved by seven votes to two, but opponents said concerns including the design of the buildings were left unresolved.

Rachel Smith-Lyte, councillor for Melton, said it seemed "bonkers" not enough weight had been given to residents' concerns. Woodbridge mayor Eamonn O'Nolan, speaking after the decision, said the council may have "left themselves wide open to a judicial review".

Mr Zins said he expected a decision on whether to permit the review within a month.

Active Urban did not respond to a request for comment.


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