Leiston/Wickham Market: District approves bid for 184 new homes

Suffolk Coastal District Council approves plans for new homes in Leiston and Wickham Market

Suffolk Coastal District Council approves plans for new homes in Leiston and Wickham Market - Credit: Archant

HOUSING developers have been given the go-ahead to build almost 200 new homes in Suffolk Coastal.

Applications by Hopkins Homes to build 119 properties on land to the south of Leiston and a 65-home scheme in Wickham Market both gained approval from the council’s planning committee.

The Leiston development includes 80 properties for the open market and 39 affordable homes built on Aldeburgh Road, which borders Aldringham-cum-Thorpe. Meanwhile, the Wickham Market scheme will comprise 21 affordable homes.

Both proposals received objections and a petition was signed by 136 objectors in Wickham Market under the slogan “Act Now to Save Our Village”.

Suffolk Coastal also considered objections against the Leiston development from both local town and parish councils and from 22 residents. But councillors on the development control committee chose to go along with the recommendations of planning officers and approve both applications.

In their report, officers said the eight-acre site at Wickham Market had already been identified as a potential housing site in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, and that it was close enough to the services and facilities of the town centre to make the project viable.

They admitted that the site, which is located beyond the last house to the south of town, would for planning purposes normally be considered “in the open countryside”, where there is a presumption against new residential development. But in this case officers said policy was overridden by recommendations in the National Planning Policy Framework that require local authorities to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply. Under the current Local Plan, Suffolk Coastal is only able to demonstrate about half the requisite supply.

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The Wickham Market scheme will go ahead on condition that Hopkins Homes contributes £30,000 towards pre-school provision and up to £90,000 towards new library space in the town. The developer must also guarantee the delivery of the affordable homes and make suitable improvements to relevant roads, drain systems and footpaths.

As for Leiston, where objectors’ concerns centred on the location of the development, a greenfield site outside the town boundary, officers felt the scheme would not be harmful to the surrounding area while also going some way to providing the “identified housing need”.

Councillors agreed that the scheme was acceptable, provided the new Sizewell Emergency Plan, due for publication in June, shows a housing scheme of such size can be safely accommodated.

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