Opposition rises against Framlingham Mount Pleasant scheme as neighbourhood plan is still not ready

Support once again failed to be found for a 95-home housing development in a rural east Suffolk town on Thursday night on the grounds that its neighbourhood plan had not yet been completed.

Persimmon Homes is seeking permission to build 95 new homes on a field off the B1119 Mount Pleasant Road, Framlingham, at the same time as it is appealing the refusal of a 100-home plan for the same site.

If approved, the revised scheme will see a range of one- to five-bedrooms houses built on the greenfield site, including 31 affordable homes. While largely very similar to the previous proposals, it will see affordable housing spread across the site, rather than in one block as previous, with some minor changes to the house design and layout.

They went before Framlingham Town Council on Thursday night, however members felt they could not make an informed decision without knowing how it would fit into the final version of the town’s neighbourhood plan - a document which sets out preferred locations for development in Framlingham.

Still in draft format, the neighbourhood plan currently ranks the Mount Pleasant site at ninth place of a possible 12 in terms of preference for housing, but the steering group behind it has admitted that it is the “least worst” site for a large housing development.

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Council chairwoman Carolyn Youngs said: “The neighbourhood plan supports, reluctantly, the development at Mount Pleasant. It’s the best of the worst preferred.”

Councillors used the same argument on the status of the neighbourhood plan when deferring the decision on the first scheme when it was brought to the full council last year.

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Gary Kitching said: “Originally I said I couldn’t support the Mount Pleasant development with the neighbourhood plan not being in place. I will stick with my original position. I can’t accept this until the neighbourhood plan is in place.”

Steve Lovett said: “The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group have put in a lot of effort. I feel it would be disrespectful if I didn’t support the neighbourhood plan as it stands currently. That means that I’m in favour of development on that site. Then it comes down to whether this is the right thing to go on that site.”

Vice-chairman Stephanie Bennell said: “The situation hasn’t changed. I wouldn’t feel comfortable about making the decision about this development until the neighbourhood plan was in place and that’s it as far as I’m concerned.

“I propose that we turn down this application because we are still in the same position, the neighbourhood plan is still not in place but the end is in sight.”

Councillors voted six two in favour of the proposal.

Suffolk Coastal District Council will make the final decision on whether to grant planning permission.

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