Walberswick: Controversial plans for five homes given the go-ahead

OPPONENTS of controversial plans to build five new homes in a picturesque village have expressed their disappointment after the scheme was given the green light.

The development, for land to the side and rear of Rosemary Cottage and the former Waveney Lodge in The Street, Walberswick, was approved yesterday.

Suffolk Coastal District Council received 93 objections about the proposals – including 56 from village residents, 32 from elsewhere in the UK and even one from France and another from Germany.

However Walberswick Parish Council and other bodies – including Natural England and Suffolk Coasts and Heaths – raised no concerns.

The proposals are for four four-bedroom houses and one two-bedroom affordable property.

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A scheme to build eight homes on the site – including two affordable units – was refused in October last year.

Among other concerns, those who are opposed to the latest application believe the project is contrary to both national and local planning policy and sets an unacceptable precedent for future development.

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Commenting after the decision, Alan Walpole, who spoke against the development at the meeting, said: “This is not nimbyism.

“We simply want to preserve villages like Walberswick for the next generation to enjoy.

“As far as the future is concerned we will consider our position and continue to oppose this and similar applications that are likely to follow. I certainly feel it has set a dangerous precedent for a little village.”

He also raised concerns about the nature of the report considered by the committee, believing it was biased in favour of the developer.

The district council’s north-area development control sub-committee also heard from those who backed the proposal. It was told the scheme had been redesigned to address concerns and that very few sites in the village were acceptable for affordable housing.

David Webb, chairman of the parish council, said they could see no reason to object to the scheme – although they would have liked to have seen more affordable housing.

His comments were echoed by local district councillor Peter Austin, who said there was a “great need” for less expensive homes in the village.

However he recognised that given the size of the site this was not viable for the developer and he could “see no reason” to turn it down.

Councillors voted in favour of the development, subject to a number of conditions. They were told the scheme met both national and local planning policy – including guidelines that stipulate one affordable home for every three properties. A spokesman for the district council has previously said all developments are judged on their own merits and that planning officers make their recommendation based on professional and impartial judgment.

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