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Halesworth housing estate backed

PUBLISHED: 17:55 19 June 2008 | UPDATED: 07:28 01 August 2010

An ambitious scheme to build a new housing estate on the former Ridgeons builders' merchants on Quay Street at Halesworth has been backed by planners.

Hopkins Homes originally applied to build on the site in April 2006 and the plans have been causing controversy in the town ever since, with concerns over the risk on flooding and views of the town park.

An ambitious scheme to build a new housing estate on the former Ridgeons builders' merchants on Quay Street at Halesworth has been backed by planners.

Hopkins Homes originally applied to build on the site in April 2006 and the plans have been causing controversy in the town ever since, with concerns over the risk on flooding and views of the town park.

The proposal for 38 houses - a mixture of two and three storey houses and apartments of which 30pc will be affordable homes - was approved by Waveney District Council's development control committee on Wednesday night at a meeting in Lowestoft.

The designs for the estate were approved by Waveney in September 2007, but no decision notice was ever sent and work never got under way, so the development control committee looked at the plans afresh this week before rubber stamping the development.

Mike Ryland, district councillor for Halesworth, said that the current site is an eyesore. He said at the meeting: “This will provide the sort of housing that is desperately needed in Halesworth. One of the problems for employers in the town is that they can't get young people - this site with its affordable housing starts

to address some of those

problems.

“What I like about this development is that it is in sympathy with its surroundings, a pastiche of what was there before.”

The original scheme was turned down by Halesworth Town Council because members felt that the tall three-storey buildings would affect views across the town park from the quay, which was first formed in 1760.

Town council chairman Janet Wright said yesterday: “Obviously we want to see development in the area, but we felt that the buildings they proposed were not suitable and there was a lot of objection from local people.

“The site is a mess at the moment because it is unused. Once the development's done I think it will very nice as long as it's in keeping with the area.

The Suffolk Preservation Society also opposed the development, saying that the high buildings would block views across the town park from the historic quay, which was first formed in 1760.

A spokesman for Hopkins Homes said that existing footpaths linking the town centre to the park will be maintained through the site, and the water frontage near the park will be improved and the footbridge will be made safe.

He confirmed that front facing dormer windows on one of the properties will be turned to be rear facing to avoid overlooking the garden of Quay House.

He added: “Our challenge has been to make an efficient use of the site which is in keeping with the character of the conservation

area.

“We believe this development will be an enduring addition to this area of Halesworth for years to come.”

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