Lavenham: Plans passed with reduced level of affordable housing

The former Armorex factory site in Lavenham

The former Armorex factory site in Lavenham - Credit: Archant

Concerns have been raised about the low number of affordable homes included in a proposed housing development, which was given the go- ahead this week.

Babergh’s planning committee voted to allow the 44-home estate to be built on the former Armorex factory site in Lavenham, despite the revised proposal only offering 18% affordable housing provision instead of the Government’s recommended 35%.

Villagers have campaigned for months to ensure an adequate number of homes for local people are included in any development on the 3.65-acre plot, which lies between Frogs Hall Road, Bury Road and Preston Road on the outskirts of the village.

Lavenham Parish Council chairman Roy Whitworth, who has led the campaign, told the EADT: “We are disappointed that there was so little debate on the matter and we are of course disappointed that we didn’t get more affordable housing.

“We made our points and tried to put forward a strong case, but at the end of the day, the vote was 7/6 in favour of the proposal, which was very close. We did our best and I guess 20% affordable housing is better than nothing.”

The applicant, Knight Developments Ltd, said because of the shape of the site and the need to reduce building heights, they could not meet the required 35% affordable housing.

Babergh appointed independent consultants who agreed that 18% would be acceptable in this case, because the scheme would regenerate a vacant site and deliver much needed homes in the village.

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The estate include a mix of houses alongside 13, two-bedroomed apartments – six for over the 55s – and eight affordable housing units.

Sudbury planning committee chairman, Jan Osborne, said she was concerned that another former industrial site had been lost to housing.

She added: “When employment does eventually pick up, we will have lost prime employment sites. The balance against loss of employment land is that you have to deliver on affordable housing.

“It concerns me that we seem to be allowing these applications to go through with a reduced amount of affordable housing.”