Delight among residents as plan to turn properties into supported housing is rejected
PUBLISHED: 11:14 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:12 17 April 2019
A rapturous reception greeted a planning committee's decision to vote down plans to turn several residential properties into supported housing.
Relief was palpable among residents as East Suffolk Council's shadow planning committee (north) refused the proposal earmarked for Lowestoft's Cleveland Road - which had been recommended for approval.
The application, submitted as part of an East Suffolk Council scheme to be managed by MAVAM Supported Housing after completion, would have seen five council-owned homes converted into 14 supported accommodation flats.
News of the potential development left residents around Cleveland Road fearing for the future of the area, with concerns surrounding safety, parking limitations, a loss of privacy and a detrimental impact on house prices.
But, at a meeting fraught with tension and emotion this evening, committee members voted to reject the plan on the grounds of it being against the recently adopted Waveney Local Plan and its limitations on flat saturation.
While members acknowledged the need for supported housing in the area, many believed Cleveland Road was simply not a suitable location.
Councillor Graham Elliott, who voiced his displeasure at the plans throughout the meeting, claimed it was the “easiest planning refusal” he had ever encountered.
He said: “We have just got our new local plan and it is very clear, however I look at it, that there should be no more flat conversions in this area.
“It is important that we provide supported accommodation but, with these plans, I think we have got a very clear breach of our policy.”
Fellow committee member Malcolm Cherry added: “For me it is obvious what we must do because the whole street is here - and they are against this proposal.”
Monique Brett, who lives directly between two of the relevant properties, said the outcome was the result of relentless hard work.
She spoke out against the plans at the meeting, citing the impact the conversion would have on her daughter Gracie's quality of life as she suffers from a rare genetic disorder.
“I am simply over the moon,” said Mrs Brett, who has lived on Cleveland Road for six years. “Because of this my daughter has a safe place to live and she can still go outside and play.
“We have been so busy campaigning for this and now Gracie has got her life back.”