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Residents rue missed opportunity after 'cheese wedges' approved

PUBLISHED: 16:30 23 October 2019

An impression of what the front of the Melton Hill housing development could look like Picture: HOOPERS ARCHITECTS/AUPG

An impression of what the front of the Melton Hill housing development could look like Picture: HOOPERS ARCHITECTS/AUPG

Hoopers Architects/AUPG

People in Woodbridge have responded with shock and disappointment after the controversial 'cheese wedge' housing scheme was given the go-ahead.

Protestors gathered outside the East Suffolk Council offices to protest the plans   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNProtestors gathered outside the East Suffolk Council offices to protest the plans Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

People in Woodbridge have responded with shock and disappointment after the controversial 'cheese wedge' housing scheme was given the go-ahead.

East Suffolk Council's planning committee voted to approve proposals for the 100-home King's View development at the former Suffolk Coastal Offices on Melton Hill on Tuesday afternoon.

The proposed houses - known locally as the cheese wedges because of their shape - by Active Urban Woodbridge have attracted a flood of criticism due to their design, as have the developers propsals for affordable housing.

More than 200 objections were lodged against the plans by members of the public, with objections also coming from Historic England, the Woodbridge Society and the National Trust.

Alan Vaughan, chairman of the Woodbridge Society, said he was disappointed with the decision.

He said: "We want it to be developed but the planning process seems to be able to ignore views as they see fit."

County councillor for Woodbridge, Caroline Page added: "I hope they will appeal it.

"We have such a need for social housing in Woodbridge. But, as I have said all along, it's not fit for purpose in terms of function."

Woodbridge resident Brendan Padfield said: "I am shocked that our elected representatives can so blatantly ignore the clear and unanimous views of the people they represent.

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"The council had an opportunity to make a real difference."

Woodbridge mayor Eamonn O'Nolan said: "Woodbridge Town Council is very disappointed.

"We felt that it failed the test on a number of points including affordable housing."

Mr O'Nolan said East Suffolk Council needed to do more to help affordable housing in the area.

Active Urban Woodbridge Ltd has been contacted for comment.

But David Ritchie, East Suffolk cabinet member for planning said: "East Suffolk Council's Planning Committee South approved the application for the redevelopment of the former offices of Suffolk Coastal District Council on Melton Hill.

"The decision was made following a lengthy meeting where members of the Planning Committee very carefully considered a detailed written report, comprehensive presentations setting out the proposals and the planning issues raised.

"Members also heard the views of the local community, which included representatives from Woodbridge Town Council, Melton Parish Council and local district councillors."

Mr Ritchie said one of the key issues raised by objectors was the level of affordable housing to be provided on the site as part of the development.

He said members were satisfied the delivery of 32 affordable homes out of the 100 planned homes met the council's policy requirement and "would contribute to the stock available for local people in a town where there are known challenges on the availability of affordable properties".

He added: "Following a thorough debate the Planning Committee voted to approve the application, having been reassured that the planning issues raised, including the level of affordable housing, had been fully addressed.

"In voting to approve, they were content the proposed planning conditions to be included on the permission will provide the necessary controls to ensure the development can be undertaken sensitively."

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