Town leaders say ‘very major changes’ needed to fix problems with homes built in wrong place
PUBLISHED: 09:42 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:51 30 November 2018
Members of a task force set up to resolve problems with a Suffolk housing development fear it may already be too late to remedy.
Framlingham Town Council’s planning committee said “major deviations” in Persimmon Homes’ Mount Pleasant development indicated “builders can ultimately do what they want, riding roughshod over planning”.
The controversial 95-home development has faced major opposition in the town, ever since plans first emerged in 2014.
Problems continued during construction, with homes built in the wrong location and design - and people being told their homes lacked planning permission.
Persimmon sought permission to vary its application, bringing it into line with what has been built.
Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) planning committee deferred the application on Monday, criticising Persimmon, but offering time to resolve the problems in a liaison group with the town and district councils.
SCDC’s planning chief Philip Ridley said he hoped it would solve matters – though he stressed Persimmon could still be ordered to demolish offending homes as the “ultimate sanction” if needed.
The town council planning committee said the liaison group was a “good idea” but it was unclear how it could remedy problems of houses built to “inferior design and appearances” and in the wrong location.
“We will be interested to hear what Persimmon proposes, but very major changes would be needed to come close to the granted planning consent and satisfy the residents of Framlingham,” it said.
“We fear it may be not so much shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, but more like anguishing about why the stable door can’t be closed anymore.”
The committee said homes looked more like Persimmon’s original application from 2014, which was rejected, partially because of its appearance, than the improved designs that were later approved.
Members said the problems had been quickly highlighted and SCDC was “much too slow” in responding.
They acknowledged the pressures on SCDC’s planners, however.
SCDC blamed delays on Persimmon not providing information quickly enough.
A spokesman for Persimmon Homes said: “Two variations of condition have been sought at Persimmon Grange, the submission of which date back to August 2017.
“There have been many meetings with the Local Authority to attempt to reach a decision and we are pleased that they now support our proposals. We wait a decision at planning committee.
“Any residents with concerns about the situation, or their own property, is welcome to contact us direct to discuss matters.”