Plans to build homes on police station site blocked
PUBLISHED: 07:30 21 October 2020
Proposals to revamp the Southwold police station site into a development of flats and houses have been refused by planners.
Suffolk Constabulary submitted proposals to East Suffolk Council last year seeking permission to demolish the police station in Blyth Road and build six apartments and three houses.
The station in the seaside town, which was formerly used by the fire service, is still operational but not open to the public.
The force’s plans had previously sparked fears that building more houses in flats in Southwold would attract more second homeowners and push up property prices.
David Beavan, town and district councillor, argued for homes to be built “for the people that live here”.
In objecting to the proposals, Mr Beavan added: “This station was built by the community in the shape of Southwold borough before being handed over to the county and then the police
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“It is only right that such a community asset should first be offered for community use, rather than sold for private profit.”
It is estimated that more than half of the homes in Southwold are used as second homes and property prices in the town are much higher than the national average.
Jessica Jeans, chairman of Southwold Town Council’s planning committee, said the town “cannot afford more of the same” after it was found that 95% of new builds end up as second homes or holiday lets.
Suffolk Constabulary’s plans for the police station were thrown into doubt earlier this year after the town council successfully listed the property as an asset of community value (ACV), meaning the use of the site would not be allowed to change.
Community leaders had successfully argued to East Suffolk successfully proved there was a “reasonable prospect” of the site being used by residents in the future.
The police station is still listed for sale, though any bidders would have to prove that it would be made available for use by the community.
East Suffolk’s planners have now refused the police’s plans for the site, citing the building’s status as an ACV while also raising concerns about the housing development’s potential impact on environmental habitat sites.
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