Warnings of housing 'chaos' for decades in Suffolk as Fressingfield raises latest 'overdevelopment' worries
PUBLISHED: 07:21 16 May 2017 | UPDATED: 07:21 16 May 2017
Suffolk could take decades to recover from the housing "chaos" that has left many communities overwhelmed by developments, a political leader has warned.
Andrew Stringer, Greens’ leader at Mid Suffolk District Council (MSDC), said towns and villages were being left to deal with the fall- out from the push for housing.
His comments came as people in Fressingfield raised warnings of “overdevelopment”. However Mr Stringer highlighted other Mid Suffolk villages such as Elmswell, Thurston and Bacton where hundreds of new homes have been approved against local wishes.
Communities in Suffolk Coastal have also raised objections, such as Framlingham, where 263 homes were approved on appeal.
Mr Stringer said the “housing flood gates” had been opened without plans for fair distribution.
“This rampant housing growth without proper planning will affect future generations,” he added. “For some communities this will be a storm that takes decades to recover from.”
Mr Stringer said the historic failure of planning authorities, including MSDC, to meet Government housing targets was “at the heart” of the problem.
A lack of a five-year housing land supply has left some councils unable to defend against appeals.
Fiona Cairns, director of the Suffolk Preservation Society, said she was “alarmed” by the way councils had been left “vulnerable to speculative development” on greenfield sites.
“We have seen a catalogue of communities impacted by this including, in particular, Framlingham and more recently in Thurston, Elmswell, Stowupland, Woolpit and now Fressingfield,” she said.
Ms Cairns said smaller communities were often ill-equipped to cope with large increases in population, affecting social cohesion as well as the “fabric and character of rural parishes”.
She questioned whether the housing being approved was to meet the needs of communities or simply because of the lack of land supply.
Christopher Hudson, who spoke against housing in Framlingham, warned many parts of the county were similarly affected. “Let’s not blight this county for the sake of a lack of infrastructure,” he added.
An MSDC spokesman said the council had projects to ensure housing delivery is “sufficient and appropriate” and was working with partners in Babergh to develop a new joint local plan for the next 19 years.
Campaign group warns of a housing ‘juggernaut’ heading towards village
A Suffolk village’s parish meeting is expected to be dominated by concerns of “overdevelopment” tonight after proposals for more than 120 new homes provoked fierce opposition.
Fressingfield is faced with two proposed developments for a combined 123 homes with rumours a further 82 may be sought in coming weeks.
Already this year, 47 houses have been approved for the village, which is around 440 in size. If all three were approved, it would grow by more than 50%.
With little employment, poor public transport and pressures on amenities, people say the village cannot cope with such expansion.
Posters are warning the growth would effectively change the village into a town. It has been met by staunch opposition, with a campaign group created to raise awareness of the “juggernaut coming down the track”.
Group member Paul Woodward said a survey found 93.8% of villagers were opposed to “large scale development”. While he said the group recognised the need for some development – of up to 50 houses in 10 years – the latest proposals were “unsustainable”.
“This would have a huge impact on what is a very beautiful rural village,” he added. “There’s a significant strength of feeling in the village as well as quite a lot of anger because these applications almost came in under the radar, one on top of the other.”
Fressingfield Parish Council is also concerned. The village was one of 11 in Mid Suffolk expected to take a combined 550 homes over the coming decade. Having already seen 47 approved, parish chairman Prue Rush said the latest applications were “overkill”.
“We don’t have jobs, we don’t have transport, it is the opinion of everyone in the village that this is gross overdevelopment and unsustainable,” she added.
The two separate proposals for up to 99 new homes on land off John Shepherd Road and 24 in Post Mill Lane are due to be decided by Mid Suffolk District Council (MSDC) this July.
Consultants for the 99 home scheme said the site had been earmarked for potential development in MSDC’s draft local plan. Those behind the outline application in Post Mill Lane, said it was a sustainable location that was being considered because MSDC could not demonstrate it was meeting its housing target.
Fressingfield’s annual parish meeting takes place in Sancroft Hall from 7.30pm tonight.