Town accepts ‘fair share’ of new homes but voices concern over 800 more

An aerial view showing part of The Layers at Saxmundham - around 225 homes could be built on the out

An aerial view showing part of The Layers at Saxmundham - around 225 homes could be built on the outlined section. The council says extra land could provide sites for up to 800 homes Picture: MIKE PAGE - Credit: Archant

Campaigners are objecting to proposals to create an 800-home “garden neighbourhood” development at Saxmundham, which would increase the size of the market town by nearly 50 per cent.

The Leave The Layers Alone (LTLA) group fears all the land south the of the town to Benhall will be taken for development under ideas revealed in a revision of Suffolk Coastal’s Local Plan, outlining how the district will develop to 2036.

Planners say sites will have to be found for 12,000 homes – considerably more than in the current district plan.

LTLA is deeply concerned about how the town will cope with the population brought by 800 extra homes and has written to Suffolk Coastal, MP Therese Coffey and town, district and county councillors about the lack of infrastructure.

A project to create a Neighbourhood Plan has also recently been started and is looking at a number of options for the future growth of the town and gathering residents’ views, but it is feared this could be overtaken by the revised Local Plan.

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Christopher Lucas, for LTLA, said: “The Leave The Layers Alone campaign is in the process of preparing a detailed response informed by professional reports on infrastructure and housing numbers.

“We will be discussing this with the Saxmundham Neighbourhood Plan team and will present our views within the consultation period deadline.

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“LTLA does not contest the need for more housing, especially affordable housing, nor Saxmundham’s responsibility to absorb a fair share of Suffolk Coastal’s responsibility, subject to realistic and manageable impact assessment and assured balancing infrastructural investment.”

In its draft plan documents, Suffolk Coastal says the “garden neighbourhood” project would “support provision of new infrastructure”.

It said: “The policy seeks to expand and diversify employment opportunities in the town and enhance the viability of the town centre.

“This approach has potential to increase job availability in the area. The overall strategy highlights the creation of garden neighbourhood to the south of the town with significant opportunities to deliver a range of new housing with associated infrastructure.

“The provision of improved pedestrian and cycling links may encourage more sustainable modes of transport which could have health benefits.

“The policy highlights the benefits of the railway that serves the town and the easy access to the A12. The policy specifically seeks to improve the quality of life through enhancements to green infrastructure.

“Depending on the level of growth there may be requirements for additional infrastructure which could include education facilities. The policy specifically seeks to retain and protect the historic character of the town.”

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