New plans for flats

A LONG-RUNNING battle over proposals to build flats for people recovering from mental health issues has taken another twist as new plans were recently submitted.

A LONG-RUNNING battle over proposals to build flats for people recovering from mental health issues has taken another twist as new plans were recently submitted.

Last summer Suffolk Heritage Housing Association had proposals accepted by Waveney District Council to build the housing on a site on the corner of Noel's Walk and Pig Lane in Beccles.

They proposed a land swap that would see the flats built on the south corner of the site, replacing an existing playground, and transforming the rest of the plot into a public open space.

However Suffolk Heritage have now decided to abort this proposal and submitted new plans that would see the housing built on an area of the plot which has already been vehemently opposed by local residents.

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Suffolk Heritage says that they have changed their minds because there were problems regarding the land swap that were “insurmountable.”

It has been suggested that the problems arose when a protester decided to legally challenge the land swap on the grounds that the play area had protected “Village Green” status. However Suffolk Heritage would not confirm this.

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The proposed scheme would see the flats built on an area currently populated by derelict garages. A similar plan was turned down in April 2007 and then again in January last year.

Local residents protested because they felt the two-storey building would block out the light for some of the surrounding houses, and they felt the area was already over populated. They also felt that there would be problems with traffic congestion and parking, and a petition was collated with 200 names objecting to the plans.

However Suffolk Heritage says that the plans have now been changed in response to issues previously raised by residents.

A spokesperson for Suffolk Heritage said: “If the application is successful, Suffolk Heritage Housing Association will take on board residents' concerns about parking with the provision of additional parking lay-bys.

“With reference to emergency vehicle access, the development will comply with building regulations. The issues around the loss of light have been addressed. The architect has designed a more compact development with the first floor area reduced in size.

“Essentially, the first floor sits within the sloping roof space which will reduce the height next to the bungalows. Plans show that the height of the building will only be marginally higher than the bungalows situated nearby.”

Ian West, who represents residents in the Denmark Road area of Beccles, said that he would be consulting local people on their views before taking any action against the proposal.

However Judy Suter, a local resident, says she will certainly be opposing the plans. “I can't believe they're dragging the plans up again,” she said. “They've sneaked about trying to get it through because only a few houses were notified. We had 100s of people opposed to the first two plans and I assume there's not enough in this to make anyone change their minds.”

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