Protesters in Framlingham shun revised housing bid

Framlingham from above. Aerial photo by Mike Page.

Framlingham from above. Aerial photo by Mike Page. - Credit: Archant

A revised housing bid from Persimmon Homes for a site off Mount Pleasant in Framlingham has again been recommended for approval.

Protesters are arguing the application has “barely changed” since being rejected in its original form earlier this year.

Persimmon Homes wants to build 95 properties in a field off Mount Pleasant, in Framlingham – five fewer than proposed in an application refused by district councillors in February, despite the recommendations of officers.

A planning committee will tomorrow be asked to make a decision at Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) headquarters while its earlier refusal remains the subject of an appeal by Persimmon, with a hearing date set for January 2016.

Planning officers have again recommended approval on grounds that the new application represents sustainable development in line with national policy, in the absence of “demonstrable evidence” of adverse impact.

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But campaigners argue that none of the sustainability issues previously raised by councillors have been addressed.

Christopher Sharpe, chairman of Framlingham Residents Association (FRAm), said: “The application is barely changed from the application that was refused by the planning committee in February this year but the case officer is recommending approval.

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“The affordable homes are now more evenly distributed within the development – more in keeping with good practice guidelines. The homes fronting Mount Pleasant now have chimneys – these are fake but better reflect existing houses in the area. Some pathways have been re-routed, albeit for no obvious reason.

“The SCDC defence for the appeal is that the application is not sustainable, yet here is an almost identical application being put forward where the SCDC planning officer is saying it is sustainable and recommending approval.

“If this application is approved than all the arguments SCDC are preparing against the original application are contradicted by their own department.”

Mr Sharpe said approval would have an impact on another appeal lodged following rejection of a bid for 163 homes at Fairfield Road, where he said Taylor Wimpey had put forward many of the same sustainability arguments.

Planning officers acknowledged the application represented a substantial amount of housing for Framlingham, but said it remained proportionate in scale. They said it provided a wide range of homes and a “particularly essential” large contribution of 31 affordable homes. The benefits, said officers, and the presumption in favour of sustainable development, had been balanced against any harm resulting from the development.

Martin Davidson, land director for Persimmon Homes Anglia, said: “We sought to address concerns, such as the location of affordable housing and detailed design issues, to see if this scheme would be deemed more acceptable.

“Our appeal, and that of Taylor Wimpey, against the refusal of the previous application, is still scheduled to take place in January. We wait to see the outcome of this committee meeting.”

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