Fears school playing field plan could create more holiday homes

Stephen Chessher Chair of Rage action group PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Stephen Chessher, chair of Rage action group - Credit: Charlotte Bond

An action group fears plans to redevelop a school playing field could lead to more unaffordable properties and holiday homes.

The land at the St Felix School site in Halesworth Road, Reydon, near Southwold, is being earmarked for 55 homes by developers The Hill Group.

However, the Reydon Action Group for the Environment (RAGE) is concerned more four and five bedroom homes could be built, which local residents could not afford and could result in more holiday lets. 

RAGE chair Stephen Chessher said original plans had outlined 69 homes, but this number has been revised to 55, leaving space for larger homes. 

He said the reduction in the number of homes could also lead to a loss in the number of affordable properties as planning guidelines require 35% to be affordable. 

The 175-member action group is also worried about potential environmental damage caused by the development.

Mr Chessher said: “We are concerned firstly about the environmental damage that this is going to do to the immediate area, but also the development itself is going to benefit other people from outside the area and we should not be providing more holiday lets.

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“We fear that we are going to end up with the worst of both worlds with the housing development and the environmental damage to boot.”

He added the original 69 home plans had been submitted before a new rule was introduced in the Reydon Neighbourhood Plan requiring all new housing to be for private residents.

A spokesperson for The Hill Group said: “The development will include a range of high quality designed homes including one, two, three, four and five-bedroom homes. Thirty-five per cent of the homes are affordable as secured by the Section 106 agreement.

“We have consulted the local community to gather their views and are working with an ecological consultant to ensure we deliver a high-quality scheme that minimises environmental impact and promotes biodiversity enhancement where possible.  

“Furthermore, we are proposing a gas-free development utilising Air Source Heat Pumps for all dwellings and providing electric vehicle charging to encourage sustainable car ownership.”

The revised plans are set to be submitted to East Suffolk Council soon.

The school did not wish to comment.