Saxmundham: New bid for housing on development project

FARMLAND left idle for more than 20 years looks set to take another step towards redevelopment on the outskirts of a Suffolk town.

District planners have recommended that Suffolk Coastal grants permission for up to 57 homes, including affordable or supported housing, to be built on land just off the A12 at Saxmundham.

The application makes up the larger residential part of a wider project, which has already been approved and includes business and retail provision.

The land was originally allocated for “employment development”, or light industrial use, in the early 1990s - but the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published in March 2012, now encourages council’s to review specific allocations of land that have remained undeveloped in areas with a need for housing.

Permission to begin building 20 home on a smaller adjacent section of land was granted in July.

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The latest application has received four objections, one raising concerns over the impact of increased traffic on safety at the A12 junction.

A second called for no development until education and health services are enhanced and the road network upgraded to cope with an increase in traffic.

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Another objector simply said: “These poor quality and cramped houses will add nothing to the town”, while the final letter of opposition suggested part of the site should be used to provide a cafe or pub, health facilities, small business units or recreation.

The application is one of the first to be considered by Suffolk Coastal since the planning inspector allowed provisional modifications to the district’s core strategy, to make it more positive for development in accordance with the requirements of the NPPF, and allow limited new development where appropriate, with priority being given to affordable housing.

A second alteration would also permit employment sites to be used for housing “where it has been demonstrated that there is no current or long term demand for the site”.

Suffolk Coastal’s latest annual land study showed that the site had not been taken up for employment for a number of years and that there was “little demand” for the site to be used for employment.

The homes would be made up of 12 flats, 35 terraces, and 10 semis. A third would have to be affordable.

In a report to the development committee, due to consider the application on January 4, planning officers recommend approval, subject to a 106 agreement for affordable housing, education contributions if required, and contributions for play space or upgrading the adjoining Memorial Field.

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