Friday, 7 November 2014

Speech by Chair of FRA, Chris Sharpe at Town Council Meeting

Town Council Meeting 6th November 2014 

Lady Chairman I speak as the Chairman of the Framlingham Residents Association.
The Framlingham Residents Association was born out of a frustration and anger with how Taylor Wimpey and the other developers thought they could just roll up in our town, cram it full of unaffordable houses and leave us the residents to pick up the tab.
We started on October 6th with just 11 people and at the last count we had 328 people register for more information on how they can fight the developments. That is 328 people in just 4 weeks. You cannot ignore this level of feeling in the town. The town clerk has said that some people are in favour of the development but if you look at comments registered on the Suffolk Coastal planning site you will see 76 objections verses 1 supporting and 1 qualified support.

This clearly shows that the residents are not in favour and they are not in favour because they know the town, they know the infrastructure is creaking, they know Fairfield Road floods regularly, they know the surgery is full, they know parking is a problem, they know the roads cannot cope.
The response from some councillors has been that is all very well but we need proper planning reasons to object. Well here are some planning reasons:
  1. The Department of Environment objects to the development, and I have their letter here, on the grounds that the anti-flooding measures are insufficient. The local residents said this when they first saw the plans so it is nice to see the Environment Agency is in agreement. In truth the Council needs no more than this to reject the application but I have some more.
  2. Suffolk County Council Economy Skills and Environment Directorate highlight various infrastructure requirements that must be taken into consideration. They refer to Suffolk Coastal’s Local Plan Strategic Policy SP1 which includes the provision of suitable infrastructure as a key part of the District planning policy and with without the contributions being agreed the development cannot be considered to accord with relevant policies. In particular it says the development will put additional strain on our primary school provision.
    They take into account the fact that the Hopkins Homes site already has permission for 140 homes so these will incremental to those. They estimate that cost to be £499,000 to provide the places and £4.35m plus land if a new school has to be built.
  3. In March this year the Planning Inspectorate refused an appeal for 9 new dwellings in Charsfield on the grounds that National Planning Policy Framework sets out a requirement for sustainable development and that the application did not meet those criteria including in this case car parking, surface water drainage and recreational facilities. The Taylor Wimpey application for Fairfield road makes no provision for sustainable development what so ever.
  4. Traffic Management: The council cannot look at this application in isolation when it comes to assessing the impact on our roads, walkways and parking. When we take into account Hopkins homes, this development, Mount Pleasant and the other smaller developments in the pipeline we have 443 new homes planned for Fram. By the planners own estimates that means a minimum of 660 more cars. Taylor Wimpey say the new residents will walk everywhere. This is insulting and shows their contempt for the town. We believe that the town council should reject this application until it has had time to conduct a proper study on what impact these developments will have on the traffic levels in the town.
  5. One other aspect of this site that hasn’t been considered is that Brick Lane will be used as a short cut to avoid the inevitable traffic build up at either end of Fairfield Road. Firstly Brick lane is a single track road so this will be problematic but more importantly at the other end it joins the main B1116 and this is a difficult junction on a bend where the traffic is going quite fast and visibility is restricted. There have already been accidents here but Taylor Wimpey’s response is to say residents won’t use it. This needs to be sorted before there is a serious accident.
Therese Coffey MP has recently used the Rendlesham Neighbourhood Plan to get a planning application referred to the inspectorate because it went completely against the spirit of the Neighbourhood Plan.
This week Suffolk County Council has said it will oppose Mersea  Homes application for the first 815 homes of a 3500 home development north of Ipswich because there was a lack of evidence that developers would provide sufficient infrastructure to make the development a success.
Our own Neighbourhood Plan is still in preparation but the initial consultation highlighted the residents concern that the infrastructure was already struggling to cope with present population needs.  We believe that the council should recognise that this development is not sustainable, does nothing to improve the infrastructure or economic prospects of the town and puts an unacceptable strain on the services, healthcare, roads, parking and recreation.

We already have a site with planning permission for 140 houses. We can see no reason for the Council agreeing this in principle because we have not seen anything to say that the town needs another 163 homes or how it can support another 163 homes. We urge the council to reject the application.

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