Factory homes plan set for rejection
By Patrick LowmanA HOUSING development planned for a factory site in one of the region's most historic villages looks certain to be rejected.Babergh District Council planning officers said the plan to build 28-homes at the Lavenham Press Site in Lavenham must be refused due to a lack of affordable homes included in the scheme.
By Patrick Lowman
A HOUSING development planned for a factory site in one of the region's most historic villages looks certain to be rejected.
Babergh District Council planning officers said the plan to build 28-homes at the Lavenham Press Site in Lavenham must be refused due to a lack of affordable homes included in the scheme.
The factory, which has 47 employees, has been granted permission to build new premises in Melford Road, Lavenham, and has been working with developers Hopkins Home on the housing plan for its current Water Street site.
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But the move now looks likely to be put back as planning officers have urged councillors to refuse planning permission for the Water Street site.
Babergh District Council has been working with the developers to ensure the competing demands of affordable housing, jobs and protection of the conversation area are met.
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The council's head of planning, Richard Watson, said: “Our role has been one of honest broker in trying to ensure that these needs are met to benefit the whole local community.
“Because of the need to protect the 47 jobs at Lavenham Press, we have not insisted that the developer make a contribution towards funding education projects and green spaces - as is usual for this type of development.
“However, with over 1,800 families on our housing register, one of our key priorities is to ensure that as many affordable homes are built as possible on new developments.
“Babergh would usually aim to have between five to nine affordable homes on a scheme of this size, especially as Lavenham is such a high-cost area. Sadly, the developers have only proposed that two be built out of a total of 28 dwellings. That is just not fair to local people.”
Lavenham Parish Council, the Suffolk Preservation Society and a number of residents have also objected to the scheme.
John Wyn Roberts, a Conservative district councillor for Lavenham, said the picturesque village was in desperate need for more affordable homes.
“I fully support the stance being taken by the planning officers. Lavenham is absolutely in need of more affordable housing, it is a crucial subject and top of our priorities,” he added.
The planning application will be discussed by Babergh District Council's development committee on September 22. No-one from Lavenham Press was available for comment yesterday.