Residents respond to proposal for 975 homes in Worlingham at public exhibitions
PUBLISHED: 06:30 18 March 2016 | UPDATED: 09:20 18 March 2016
Residents have been given the chance to have their say on a major homes development planned for Worlingham.
What is being proposed
A new neighbourhood for Beccles and Worlingham of approximately 975 homes, including affordable and starter homes and homes suitable for the elderly.
The creation of greenways to improve pedestrian and cycle routes including links to Ellough Business Park and the provision of new playing fields, recreational spaces and allotments.
New facilities to help reduce traffic travelling into the town centre including a supermarket and ancillary retail, sports fields, land for a new primary school, a new community centre and or indoor sports hall, as well as investigating the provision of a health centre.
Access to the development will be via Ellough Road, with the Southern Relief Road providing an alternative route to Ellough Industrial Estate and reducing the amount of traffic through the town centre.
The development will create new jobs both during and after the construction, for example at the neighbourhood centre, and will encourage new businesses to locate to the nearby Beccles Business Park and Ellough Industrial Estate.
Two public exhibitions were staged in Beccles and Worlingham this week after a proposal for 975 houses was unveiled last month. The homes, which would be built on land off Ellough Road, were mostly met with criticism as residents raised concerns about the size of the development, access, flooding, and the pressure it would put on the already stretched facilities in the area.
Mary Notley, who has lived in Worlingham for 43 years, said: “My concerns are that the proposed site already floods so where is the water going to go and what about the sewerage? We have had problems in the past where I live with the sewerage and if you add 1,000 more houses on to that it is all going to start again.
“And there are no facilities that side of town. We need a petrol station and they have said they will include a primary school but what about the older children?
“I think if this goes ahead it will destroy Beccles and Worlingham.”
A Worlingham couple who live in Cedar Drive said: “The problem we have with it is there is already too much traffic going into Beccles and if you have 975 homes with two-car families it is going to get even worse.
“It is a lot of houses in a small village and it is going to double the population. We expect some development because families grow and people need somewhere to live but it is just too much.”
And Jo Poole, who has been a Beccles resident for 18 years said: “Beccles will cease to be a rural Suffolk market town, it will simply become the smaller relative of a massive sea of modern houses. Worlingham - which was a village - will lose its identity completely. Tourism is very important to our economy, but will tourists still want to come here?”
The exhibitions were organised by Larkfleet Homes, the company behind the proposal. Mark Croker, company architect for Larkfleet said: “The purpose is to hear everyone’s thoughts and ideas and then we will take away the feedback and develop the scheme based on the concerns. The land is not allocated but it is in the ‘call for sites’ area so we will be looking to get the site allocated. There is a general concern about the size of the development but we are here to allay those concerns and talk about what we can provide for the area like a community centre, primary school, medical centre and a shopping area.
“It is a big scheme but we will providing the infrastructure to go with it.
“And this is not something that is just going to appear. We are looking at a development period of 10 to 15 years.” Mr Croker said there was no indication of any flood risk at the site. He said they are working towards an outline planning application, and would be presenting the updated plans to the town and parish councils before moving forward with the application.
Comments on the development are welcomed until Friday, April 1. A feedback form is available online at http://larkfleethomesnorfolkandsuffolk.co.uk/beccles/
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