Plans to convert Halesworth business properties into homes to be discussed on Monday

A chairty has applied for planning permission to convert business units in Halesworth into homes for

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

Controversial plans to convert business properties into housing for over 55s in Halesworth are to be debated in a council meeting tonight.

Plans to convert the buildings in Miles Ward Court, in Market Place, have been met with a furious reaction by current tenants.

Foundation East, who manage the property, have applied for planning permission to convert the site into five residential dwellings for persons over 55 years of age.

However, current tenants say the proposed conversion will force their businesses out of Halesworth, arguing the properties are not suitable for housing.

An extraordinary meeting has been called by Halesworth Town Council at 6.30pm tonight, where the future of Miles Ward Court will be discussed.

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Dustin Fjeld, who manages Fjeld Consulting in Miles Ward Court, wrote to East Suffolk Council to object the proposals.

Mr Fjeld said there is a lack of other properties to rent in Halesworth, insufficient parking and unsuitable conditions for over 55s.

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He said: "Miles Ward Court is not perfect but it works better than a home office for us tenants.

"Not only is there no parking, but the severe slope is not ideal for over 55s. There will be more slips and falls during wet or cold weather if this change of us is granted.

"With all the new homes already coming to Halesworth, we need jobs, places to work and services - not additional homes.

"If this change of use is granted I will most likely need to move my business out of Halesworth."

Hugh Hales' massage therapist business has been based in Miles Ward Court for more than 11 years.

Mr Hales said: "My understanding was that this property had been given to the local community in perpetuity, providing low-cost premises for small businesses.

"There is no vehicular access to Miles Ward Court for residents or any of the emergency services, making it inappropriate for residential property.

"There is also no vehicular access for dropping off people or goods without blocking the highway.

"None of the issues raised have been addressed and change of use should not be granted."

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