Protest at church bid to build cottages

A POSTER campaign has been launched in protest at a Catholic church's bid to build two cottages on its land.

Mark Lord

A POSTER campaign has been launched in protest at a Catholic church's bid to build two cottages on its land.

Father Roger De Lacy-Spencer, the priest at Halesworth's St Edmund's Church, submitted the plans to Waveney District Council on June 9.

Shortly after the application was made, posters started appearing on lampposts, telegraph poles and fences around the area where the cottages are proposed to be built urging all residents to object to the application.

One church-goer, who did not wish to be named, she said: “From what I understand this application has created quite a bit of bad feeling among some of those whose homes neighbour the church and among some members of the congregation who say they are unhappy about church land being used in this way.

“Many of the neighbours I have spoken to say they think it is too much of a development for the site and that it will have a negative impact on their homes.”

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Due to ill-health, Fr De Lacy-Spencer declined to comment on the application himself, but speaking on his behalf, project architect John Bennett said: “I cannot understand why this application has sparked such a great deal of opposition.

“We made a planning application, but as we are all aware there is no guarantee that it will go through. That said there is a need for housing in Halesworth and the Government tells us to try to use this type of land where available rather than building on the green belt.

“The church has this land going spare and it believes the best use for it is to provide this much needed housing.”

He added: “I have worked hard to ensure the design of these cottages fits in with the surroundings and, to be honest, with the extra effort we have put in to ensure the trees on the site are retained, I doubt that much of the cottages will be seen anyway.

“I do not know why people are so keen to oppose this. All I can think is that people have become so good these days at complaining and objecting to planning applications that they do so over the slightest thing.

“However, that said, anyone can put up posters objecting it does not mean these objections will be listened to.”

Halesworth Town Council has recommended application be refused, saying it is an over- development of the site and that it has concerns about access. The application is due to be determined in August by Waveney's planners.

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