Wickham Market villagers plan for possibility of future housing

Parish chairman Dick Jenkinson, far right, pictured at a previous public event in the village with o

Parish chairman Dick Jenkinson, far right, pictured at a previous public event in the village with other community leaders - Credit: Archant

More than 100 people living in an east Suffolk village attended a public meeting to raise suggestions for future housing in their community.

Wickham Market Parish Council hosted the recent event to give villagers a chance to have their say on possible sites for new homes as part of an ongoing consultation by the planning authority.

Although the village is not currently allocated any extra housing until 2027, according to current planning models, the parish chairman, Dick Jenkinson, said he expected that to change.

Accounting for that likelihood, he asked people to suggest the most appropriate location from sites mentioned in Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) document.

Mr Jenkinson said the “unanimous” view was that there could be no development on the Glebe allotments in the village, which immediately ruled out two potential sites.

But, he said “if our arms were twisted”, the site near the telephone exchange in Border Cot Lane, could be considered.

The parish council is also looking into the possibility of setting up a neighbourhood plan, which would outline in greater detail aspirations for the future of the village’s development, including housing.

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Mr Jenkinson suggested that by widening the remit of the neighbourhood plan to include Parham and Lower Hacheston, there may be more suitable sites for development further out of the village.

“There’s a lot of work to do but I think the feeling is, if we have to take some more housing sooner than later, then the site near the telephone exchange is probably the best,” he added.

“Then if we go wider with the neighbourhood plan, that might be a way forward too.”

The meeting was attended by other representatives from the parish council, district councillor Bryan Hall and Colin Owens, chairman of the Wickham Market Town Team.

Mr Owens praised the council and Mr Jenkinson for their efforts engaging with the community as part of the consultation.

“I applaud the parish council for its determination in consulting with the community,” he added.

“It was well considered, it covered all the issues, it gave everybody an opportunity to comment. As an exercise in public consultation it was really good and the turn out was very good too.”