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Concerns over town centre housing plans

PUBLISHED: 16:02 19 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:02 19 November 2019

A chairty has applied for planning permission to convert business units in Halesworth into homes for the over 55s Picture: MIKE PAGE

A chairty has applied for planning permission to convert business units in Halesworth into homes for the over 55s Picture: MIKE PAGE

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Community leaders have outlined a catalogue of concerns over plans to convert business units in Halesworth into residential homes.

Halesworth town centre Picture: GOOGLE MAPSHalesworth town centre Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Community leaders have outlined a catalogue of concerns over plans to convert business units in Halesworth into residential homes.

Charity Foundation East have submitted plans to convert buildings in Miles Ward Court into five homes for the over 55s.

The charity, which promotes job creation, claim maintenance costs have "become a strain on the organisation".

The application states: "There is pressure to release this premises for residential purposes, thereby raising capital that can be used by the organisation to support other such facilities and to help deliver the numerous other services offered by Foundation East.

"In simple terms, this is an asset that has become difficult for the charity to sustain and finding an alternative use for the premises will deliver much needed funding to support the wider functions of the charity."

Members of Halesworth Town Council held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the proposals and have called for the proposals to be refused, citing a lack of parking and the negative impact on the community among its reasons.

The plans have also met with opposition from businesses at the site who say the conversion would present a flood risk, increase congestion in the town centre and be dangerous for residents in wet weather due to the sloping nature of the site,

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Hugh Hales, who runs a massage therapy business in the courtyard, said: "There is very difficult access to the property - if you had to get out in emergency you would have difficulties.

Mr Hales and other tenants at the complex have been bouyed by the council's decision to oppose plans.

"This news is a positive. There's nothing else like Miles Ward Court in the town," he said.

"I'm so pleased that the town council are supporting us."

Dustin Fjeld, who manages Fjeld Consulting, said: "I'm happy with the decision made by the town council.

"I believe it's the right decision. Hopefully East Suffolk Council feel the same way."

Previous plans for residential homes on the site were refused on the grounds that the courtyard was not fit for purpose.

East Suffolk Council will debate the plans at a forthcoming planning committee meeting.

Foundation East were unavailable for comment.

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