‘We have to be very strong on this’ - Framlingham councillor advocates ‘direct action’ against planning abuses

Persimmon Homes’ Mount Pleasant development in Framlingham has been criticised by residents. Picture

Persimmon Homes Mount Pleasant development in Framlingham has been criticised by residents. Picture: ANDREW HIRST - Credit: Archant

Suffolk residents have been encouraged to take “direct action” when developers flout planning regulations – because councils are too poor to take enforcement action.

Christopher Hudson, who represents Framlingham at Suffolk Coastal District Council made the comments in response to concerns raised about Persimmon Homes’ Mount Pleasant development in the town.

Persimmon has been repeatedly accused of failing to comply with planning conditions on the 95-home development, including building houses in the wrong design and location.

Members of the public attending Framlingham Town Council’s latest meeting asked what could be done to stop the alleged breaches.

One man said: “Is there anything that can be done to put pressure on the planning committee at the district council, particularly in relation to Mount Pleasant, which seems to be going from bad to worse.”

Mr Hudson, who had already accused Persimmon of “getting away with murder”, replied to the question, saying: “It’s very disturbing because I don’t like to see democracy trampled on.

“I advocate direct action when the law has been flouted. We have to be very strong on this.”

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Mr Hudson said people should “stand up and be counted” and suggested they could complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, lodge a judicial review or sue the developer.

He said district councils had “so little money in the bank” they could not challenge developers effectively when they breached planning conditions.

“Virtually every parish in the district has been affected where on one or many occasions, the planning rules are not observed,” he added.

Persimmon has responded to previous accusations by saying it had worked with councils to address its outstanding obligations on the site.

“Any changes to the proposals have been discussed with the council, advertised and consulted with the public following the formal statutory procedure,” a spokesman added.

Suffolk Coastal District Council said it took all allegations of developers abusing the planning process seriously and had pledged to investigate the Mount Pleasant situation fully once it had the opportunity to “ascertain the full facts of the situation”.

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