Mills Charity’s almshouse proposals for young people in Framlingham meet positive response
- Credit: Archant
A charity’s proposals to build 14 almshouses helping young people in an east Suffolk town find affordable accommodation has been met with a positive response from the community.
The Mills Charity, which was set up to manage the estate of the wealthy philanthropist Thomas Mills for the benefit of Framlingham, the town in which he was based, has submitted an application for its site in Vyces Road.
Martin Kelleway, the charity’s chairman, said the idea was partially inspired by the concerns that had arisen after a major housing development in Station Road was granted permission to have its affordable homes obligation removed.
“It seemed like a good opportunity to redress those concerns,” he added.
The charity already manages six almshouses in the town, which were built according to Thomas Mills’ will, and are home to mainly elderly people.
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Mr Kelleway said the charity’s hope for the new almshouses would be to cater for a “broader spectrum” of people.
“Almshouses seem to have become the domain of the elderly but originally they were intended for people of any age who were not well off,” he added. “So the aim is to try and provide something for a wider range of people.”
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The charity’s design and access planning statement says it has become harder for local young people to stay in Framlingham due to rising house prices. It claims to be in a “unique position” to help this by providing almshouses for the younger generation.
The submission comes soon after two major housing applications, for a combined total of 263 new homes, were met with fierce opposition.
Framlingham Residents Association (FRAm), which campaigned against the developments, up until their rejection by planning committee last month, highlighted concerns about their impact on infrastructure and the loss of greenfield sites.
Despite the previous opposition, FRAm’s chairman Christopher Sharpe said his group’s reaction to the almshouses application was “overwhelmingly positive”.
“In general, people thought it was a very good move by a local charity that will benefit local people and be controlled by local people,” he added.
Although the proposed site is classed as greenfield, which FRAm is opposed to, Mr Sharpe, said it was more amenable to his members, because “the scale of development was not overbearing and the town’s infrastructure could cope with it”.
Mr Sharpe also said the site had not been in agricultural use for a long period of time.
Christopher Hudson, who is one of Framlingham’s district councillors, has previously spoken of the need to provide affordable housing in the town, said the application was “great news”.
“Any new housing to support first-time buyers and vulnerable groups in Framlingham is music to the town’s ears and most welcome as we continue to provide housing in Framlingham,” he added.
Framlingham Town Council is due to discuss the application at its next meeting on Thursday when it will make a recommendation for Suffolk Coastal District Council to consider before making the final decision.