Needham Market Town Council fears new chalk quarry development could “tip the balance” and threaten future of community

Needham Market Town Council is concerned about a proposal for more than 260 new homes in the town

Needham Market Town Council is concerned about a proposal for more than 260 new homes in the town - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There is a “serious risk” a major new housing development will “tip the balance” and threaten the well-being of a community, according to a town council.

The comments from Needham Market Town Council are in response to proposals to build almost 270 new homes in the town at the chalk quarry in Ipswich Road.

Despite the developer, Hopkins Homes, setting aside more than £900,000 of money for education and health services the council claims the figure is “alarmingly short” of the amount identified in the town’s formal planning vision.

The council said in a planning statement: “The town council is acutely aware of the need to maintain a balance between the needs of its community and the support available to ensure well-being.

“At present, that balance, in general, is being maintained but the proposed 14% increase in population, which would result from the residential development of Needham Chalk Quarry could tip the balance threatening the well-being of the community. That must not be allowed to happen.”

But Simon Bryan, Hopkin Homes’ development director, said a “sizeable package” of benefits was being put forward through developer’s fees or what are known as Section 106 payments.

He said: “I think in respect to the package of Section 106 payments, which has yet to be agreed, we are, despite the viability of the project, still offering a sizeable package and benefits to the community and are still offering money for town improvements.

“However, the overall viability in developing the project has to be thought about and made clear that it is a project that has considerable expenses and a high level of investment that’s necessary to get the development under way.”

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He said it was a judgement for Mid Suffolk District Council to make when it considers the balance between the benefit of new homes and the “burden and pressure it may put on existing facilities”.

From the £900,000 being offered, more than £840,000 is earmarked for primary school and pre-school spaces in the town’s area.

Mid Suffolk District Council is due to rule on the application next month.

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