East Suffolk Council called on to withdraw affordable housing project in Hollesley, near Woodbridge
A call has been made for council plans for five homes near Woodbridge to be withdrawn over environmental concerns and impact on the wider neighbourhood.
Conservative Cllr James Mallinder, who represents Deben Ward, would like to see East Suffolk Council’s proposals to develop five houses in Hollesley’s Coronation Avenue to be withdrawn and started again with ‘better designed houses’.
He said the authority did not engage with residents on what was needed for the community, and was ‘rushed to the application stage’.
However, Liberal Democrat Cllr David Beavan, who represents Southwold and sits as the authority’s portfolio holder for housing, said officers are engaged in constructive talks with Cllr Mallinder – and said it was disappointing he was ‘choosing to play party politics’.
Cllr Mallinder stated he’d written to the authority to take local concerns into account.
He said: “As the previous cabinet member for the environment at East Suffolk I know how important it is to set an example and show leadership when we build houses on behalf of local residents.
“Planning law is clearly not adequate in safeguarding our environment and I expect the Green and Lib Dem administration to do much better .
“I can not sit back and allow my residents and community to have poorly designed houses which do not meet my vision of an sustainable environmentally focused village and community.”
He asked for reassurance from Cllr Beavan that the process could see better designed houses with carbon-neutral construction and built to passive house standards.
This would include capturing heat from the sun and rain water for irrigation as well as minimum heating costs.
He claimed there was a problem that implementation of housing policy ‘failed to live up’ to aspirations.
He also said residents in Coronation Avenue were deeply worried about the impacts a development would have on their utilities stating the street frequently experiences power cuts and flooding.
Eleven objections were raised to East Suffolk Council about the plans, which were submitted last month.
“Why are my residents being given inadequate housing?” he added. “I want the best, fit for purpose, award winning housing – and frankly this council should have bigger ambitions and deliver just that.
“I have always argued for environmentally-suitable policies from East Suffolk and I ask this administration to work with me to deliver much needed housing on the peninsula that is fit for purpose for now and future generations.”
However, Cllr Beavan hit back at Cllr Mallinder for ‘playing party politics’.
He said the authority wanted to build new affordable homes to meet urgent demands, which would feature heat pumps, solar panels, and electric vehicle charging points to make them more energy efficient.
Should Cllr Mallinder know how to make homes in line with standards known as Passivaus ‘he should tell us’, Cllr Beavan stated.
“As Cllr Mallinder well knows, the pre-application planning process is confidential and while we can voluntarily engage with the public prior to submission, the scale of this development would not normally require formal community engagement prior to the submission,” Cllr Beavan said.
“The council does, however, welcome all comments via the formal planning process, and planning officers have encouraged Cllr Mallinder to do this, for consideration by the full planning committee.
“We are also very interested in working with the community land trust if they can put a firm proposal to us soon.”