Woodbridge ‘cheese wedge’ homes get go-ahead after narrow vote in planning committee

A CGI view of the proposed homes as seen across the meadow from the riverside end of the site at Mel

A CGI view of the proposed homes as seen across the meadow from the riverside end of the site at Melton Hill. Picture: JTP ARCHITECTS - Credit: Archant

Controversial plans to create 100 homes on the former Suffolk Coastal District Council offices in Melton have been given the go-ahead after a narrow vote by planning committee.

The 100 homes, dubbed as “cheese wedges” by critics of the development, will be built on the site off Deben Road and Melton Hill, which the council vacated in December 2016.

The proposals were given the backing of the council’s planning committee in autumn last year, but wanted questions over affordable housing, parking and the chance of being “called in” by the government resolved before the final decision.

Yesterday, the planning committee met again, where five councillors voted in favour of the proposal going ahead, while five voted against.

The plans were approved by the committee’s chairman Debbie McCallum, who has the casting vote.

Concerns had been raised at the meeting as to whether the details over the 32 affordable homes were comprehensive enough.

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Committee member Andy Smith said: “We have to give our authority to the officers to make the best of the decision in regards to affordable housing.

“I remain in favour of this scheme, but we have to look at the reality of this site and an overtly modern building with a statement to make is somehow unacceptable.”

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He added that he admired the designs.

Councillor Tony Cooper said: “The town needs affordable housing – at the end of the day I think it’s a good design.”

Since the last time the item was discussed, the secretary of state for communities and local government Sajid Javid said that he did not wish to get involved in the decision, while an additional six parking spaces have been secured to make it the equivalent of one parking space per property.

The application received more than 330 objections, and other representations at the meeting also raised concerns.

Woodbridge town councillor Caroline Blois said the homes were a “blot on the landscape” and would “affect Woodbridge for a lifetime”.

Ward councillor Patti Mulcahy raised concerns over the loss of two heritage buildings on the site.

Developers Active Urban (Woodbridge) Ltd have not yet disclosed when work may begin on the site.

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