Villages earmarked for new homes

TWO rural villages in north Suffolk have been earmarked as being suitable for further housing development, even though they do not have primary schools.

TWO rural villages in north Suffolk have been earmarked as being suitable for further housing development, even though they do not have primary schools.

Wrentham and Wangford, which straddle the A12 between Southwold and Lowestoft, have been named in Waveney District Council's revised planning blueprint as areas where further development could take place.

Wangford is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, while Wrentham lies just outside.

Suffolk County Council has asked Waveney to provide "further justification" for including the two villages in its Local Plan as they do not fulfil the county Structure Plan criteria for "sustainable development" as they have no primary school.

Five criteria are used to judge whether areas are suitable for development. There must be access to a primary school, good public transport, local amenities such as a shop, community, leisure and social facilities, and employment potential.

Senior planning officer Desi Reed for Waveney said both these villages, being located on the A12, fulfil most of these criteria.

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"We are basically saying these are villages that already have a level of facilities which makes them the most sustainable locations for development. They are both fairly large villages and they do both satisfy some of the criteria of the structure plan except for the primary school, but we are assured there is capacity in other primary schools in the area."

She added that this was not a blueprint to build on greenfield sites, but to use brownfield or infill opportunities should they arise.

"In reality the brownfield opportunities are very limited and we are not expecting much development – but if there are redevelopment opportunities these are the sort of places we would try to focus on rather than smaller, more remote villages."

Mel Fleming, a planning and development officer at Suffolk County Council, said the council had asked Waveney to provide further justification for the inclusion of these villages.

"We are not at odds with the district council," he said, "but we do think some areas of the first draft of the plan could be improved."

Wrentham parish council clerk Angela Day said yesterday: "We have not yet been informed of any plans."

The council's Sustainable Suffolk Overview and Scrutiny Committee and its Executive Committee will look at the proposals on March 26 and April 1 respectively.

Mr Fleming added that new legislation concerning planning, the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill, is before parliament at present, and is unlikely to be operative before April next year.

Waveney's revised draft local plan will therefore be shelved until then, when it will have a second consultation before being modified and revised for public comment.

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