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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

Fressingfield could see many new homes built in coming years. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Fressingfield could see many new homes built in coming years. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk could take decades to recover from the housing “chaos” that has left many communities overwhelmed by developments, a political leader has warned.

Fiona Cairns, director of the Suffolk Preservation Society, said small commnities were ill-equipped to deal with large population increases. Picture: PHIL MORLEYFiona Cairns, director of the Suffolk Preservation Society, said small commnities were ill-equipped to deal with large population increases. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

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.

Andrew Stringer, leader of the Greens at Mid Suffolk District Council, said it could take decades to recover from the housing 'chaos'. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYAndrew Stringer, leader of the Greens at Mid Suffolk District Council, said it could take decades to recover from the housing 'chaos'. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

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.

Christopher Hudson, pictured second from left, with members of the Suffolk Coastal planning committee at the site of proposed new housing in Fairfield Road, Framlingham, has raised concerns about the scale of new development. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChristopher Hudson, pictured second from left, with members of the Suffolk Coastal planning committee at the site of proposed new housing in Fairfield Road, Framlingham, has raised concerns about the scale of new development. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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.

People in the village say its road network is not suited to such rapid population growth. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPeople in the village say its road network is not suited to such rapid population growth. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Fressingfield’s annual parish meeting takes place in Sancroft Hall from 7.30pm tonight.

2 comments

  • I've discussed this matter with Andrew before and he is aware of the nightmare scenario. London is shunting its homeless families right out of the city, and Suffolk, particularly West and South Suffolk, are right in the firing line. Without primary legislation there is nothing to stop London financing major building firms to buy up large swathes of the huge housing estates planned in Brandon, Bury, Haverhill, Ipswich etc. When even Constable Country villages like East Bergholt are at risk then you get some idea of how extreme is the pressure from government to build all over Suffolk. We are ordered to build 95,000 homes in the next 14 years. These targets are imposed from above and the boroughs and districts are told to plan for five years' supply of building land. if they fail then it's happy times for landowners and property developers. Alright for them, but we have to put up with the lack of infrastructure, GP surgery and A&E queues, crowded roads, rising house prices and a daily battle for jobs. We've probably seen the best of Suffolk. It's all downhill from here unless we can get our councillors to fight for our residents and not just meekly bow to the property developers.

    Report this comment

    Julian Flood

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

  • These villages are ill equipped to deal with large population growth? Well join the club people, most towns across the country are ill equipped, lack infrastructure... but hey they keep piling up the flats and grotesque apartments where they can fit them regardless of impact on school, public services and road network. Mr Stringer and the greens, you can't have your cake and eat it, you want more housing......but not on your door step?

    Report this comment

    equalibrium

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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