Homeowners hit back against claims their estate has been a 'disaster'
PUBLISHED: 08:30 09 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:53 10 February 2019
Residents of a controversial new housing estate claim the criticisms of their development have been "wildly exaggerated".
People living in Persimmon Homes’ development at Mount Pleasant in Framlingham say “it’s a fantastic place” and concerns about its design have been “blown out of all proportion”.
The 95-home development has been at the centre of a long-running enforcement row, including allegations every house was built in the wrong place.
But William Taylor, 27, who set up the Persimmon Grange Residents group, claims it has all been a “storm in a tea cup”.
“There were some minor teething issues in the early stages of the development but everything is being put right and it’s becoming a lovely little community with some wonderful young families living here,” he added.
“Many of us grew up in Framlingham.
“This has been our first opportunity to get on the housing ladder, which has only been possible because of this development.
“It’s quickly becoming a fantastic place to live; it’s just a shame there’s this unfair perception that it’s a disastrous site.”
Mr Taylor, who has lived in one of the new homes with his partner Abbie Woodhouse, 25, and their 21-month-old daughter Alice since August 2017, joined a “liaison group” which was formed last year to resolve enforcement issues.
Framlingham Town Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council had criticised Persimmon over allegations it failed to adhere to the planning application.
The developer submitted several retrospective applications last year to bring their permissions into line with what had already been built, which were discussed by SCDC’s planning committee in November.
Although officers recommended the applications’ approval, committee members deferred the decision so the liaison group could be formed, including representatives from Persimmon, the residents as well as the town and district councils.
Richard Williamson, another resident member of the liaison group, claimed Persimmon had demonstrated at those meetings that all the homes were in the correct place.
“Persimmon have been dealing with any cosmetic issues because that’s what most of the issues have been,” he added.
Although an SCDC enforcement report found every property had been built in the wrong location, most by around a metre or less, Mr Taylor claimed the significance of the errors had been “wildly exaggerated”.
MORE: Every home on new housing estate built in wrong place
Residents highlighted a report prepared for November’s planning meeting, which found that although there were “variations to different degree, across the site ... these do not have a significantly adverse impact”.
Committee members defied officers’ recommendations, however, saying Persimmon had made a “catalogue of errors”.
David Beal, a town councillor who attended the liaison group meetings, said Persimmon had not done enough to mitigate the errors and he would be urging the committee not to accept the developer’s assurances when it met to discuss the applications again later this month.
Mr Taylor, who runs a multimedia company, said he was frustrated by the ongoing negativity towards the development, particularly as SCDC’s own officers now appeared to be satisfied with development.
“It seems a small number of vocal opponents have blown everything out of all proportion,” he added.
People are forgetting about the human element - this is about more than bricks and mortar, it’s about people’s lives..
“This is where families will grow up for years to come, friendships are being formed and a little community is emerging. We want to be able to live here happily knowing that we are welcome in the town and will have a future here.
“The residents are proud to live in these houses that they’ve worked hard for. They’ve chosen to live here because they love the area.”
Other members of the Persimmon Grange Residents group have shared stories on its Facebook group about how they “fell love” with their new home, the town and its community.
However, they added that a “select few people” had made them feel unwelcome and “almost ashamed” about mentioning that they bought a Persimmon home.
Planners confirm ‘positive recommendations’
Persimmon Homes said the houses and roads in the development had been built in the correct position and it had provided information to confirm its claims.
“We are working collaboratively with the council towards a resolution of all outstanding matters,” a spokesman added.
SCDC said the application would be returning before its planning committee on February 21, with the reports, including notes from the liaison group, set to by published on its website a week before.
A council spokesman said planning officers were now satisfied that one of the applications, relating to a specific property, had been built in the correct position, though it was still disputed by a neighbour.
The spokesman added that the liaison group had been looking into matters related to the other applications, and these would be discussed by the committee, with “positive recommendations” from planning officers.