Opposition growing to bid to build another 225 homes at Saxmundham

Villagers are preparing to fight proposals for hundreds of new homes and a £4.35million primary school because they fear it will turn their community into a suburb of Saxmundham.

Hopkins Homes has drawn up a scheme for a 50-acre project to provide 225 homes, school and country park on farmland stretching from South Entrance alongside and partly straddling the B1121, next to the rail line, as far as Benhall Green.

However, residents of Benhall fear the encroachment of housing could lead to nearby villages losing their distinctiveness and becoming suburbs.

Dr Hilary Graham, chairman of Benhall and Sternfield Parish Council, said Benhall was a small village community of around 225 homes – the same size of the proposed development – in the Fromus Valley corridor, bounded on two sides by a special landscape area and a wetland conservation area.

Dr Graham said: “The stretch of countryside lining the B1121 between Saxmundham and Benhall is known locally as ‘The Layers’. Covering this landscape with housing and a school, from the Saxmundham entrance almost to the Benhall boundary, would turn Benhall into a mere suburb of Saxmundham.

“Should this project continue to a full planning application, Benhall and Sternfield Parish Council will strongly object.”

The village also had highways concerns. Permission already exists, though not implemented yet, for nine homes, 21 residential park homes and 18 holiday caravans between Benhall Green and the A12, which would bring extra traffic in addition to that connected with the new housing development.

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Saxmundham Town Council has similar concerns and supports Suffolk Coastal council in insisting that an Environmental Impact Assessment is required “due to the impact it will have on the urbanisation towards Benhall”.

The town council added that it “feels that this green belt should be maintained in order to preserve the character of Saxmundham and to prevent Benhall from becoming a suburb of the town”.

Because work is already taking place on hundreds of new homes in Saxmundham, Suffolk County Council says a 210-space primary school will be needed on a five-acre site, with room to expand it to 420 pupil places as the town expands further.

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