Plans for affordable housing spark fears

ANGRY residents are to attend a public meeting next week to discuss plans to build new affordable homes in a mid Suffolk village.

Many people in Stowupland feel they have not been consulted enough on the proposals for between 10 and 13 homes in the village, close to Stowmarket, and have previously voiced concerns at parish council meetings.

Now a public meeting is set to take place in the village hall and will include representatives from Mid Suffolk District Council, Stowupland Parish Council and developers Hastoe Housing Association.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said the preferred “greenfield” sites – including one on Church Road – were unsuitable and that the opinions of villagers had not been sought.

She said: “It [Church Road] is very busy and they are proposing that it would be acceptable for children to be around these sites.

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“A lot of information has been kept back, that’s why we are holding the public meeting on Tuesday.

“There is a lot of local opposition and a lot of people are going to be at the meeting. It’s all been very underhand.”

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Mid Suffolk District Council’s housing enabling officer, Nigel Brett, said that with 27 families or couples in Stowupland expressing a desire for more affordable homes there, it was clear that there was sufficient demand to investigate the possibility.

He said: “There are no proposals at the moment. In February 2009, Suffolk ACRE did a local housing needs survey and recommended 10 to 13 homes to meet the identified need.

“Seventy-nine per cent of the respondents were in favour of a small scheme for local people. The parish council selected Hastoe Housing Association to deliver such a scheme.

“Hastoe and the parish council had a walk-around the parish to look at possible sites. These sites have been scored against criteria such as highways issues and keeping the separation from Stowmarket.

“Hastoe are now talking to landowners of the preferred sites.

“Because of all the rumours going round, we are going out to talk to the parish on Tuesday.”

The meeting will be held at Stowupland village hall on Tuesday evening from 6.30pm and all residents are welcome to attend.

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