Great Blakenham: Tensions in village grow over council homes plan with new meeting to be held later

Residents ask questions at an earlier public meeting called to discuss the council homes plan in Gre

Residents ask questions at an earlier public meeting called to discuss the council homes plan in Great Blakenham - Credit: Archant

It is early days for proposals to build new council homes in a village but already tensions are running high.

A section of residents in Great Blakenham has setup a group against Mid Suffolk District Council’s (MSDC) plan to build up to 23 homes on land between Chequers Rise and Chalk Hill Lane.

Mid Suffolk owns the land and argues new council homes are needed to meet a growing demand in the village area.

But when the details emerged at a police-patrolled public meeting held earlier in the month many were not happy.

The residents group has issued a letter which says: “We realise that MSDC own the land and are going to give themselves planning permission for something. All we are asking is that they take the concerns of the residents seriously and come up with an agreeable proposal for both themselves and the residents.

“We feel that we were not given enough opportunity to discuss our concerns and asked for another meeting. MSDC declined this and opted for their choice of a drop-in session when the plans become available.”

The group has a range of concerns including flooding, the likely council tenants, traffic problems, infrastructure and the possible effect on house prices. Julie Abbey-Taylor, Mid Suffolk’s corporate manager for strategic housing, said herself or councillor John Field had not been invited to the follow-up meeting.

She said: “We have said we are committed to calling a meeting when we have got some plans to share and we can have a drop-in.

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“We have not got anything more to show than what was at the first public meeting two weeks ago. I did explain at that meeting that it’s my experience that drop-in events give an opportunity for one-to-one conversations for people in their own time and are more productive.”

At the first heated meeting there were concerns over the would-be tenants of the council homes. This led John Field, a district and county councillor, to assure the public that people with “three heads” would not be coming to the village.

Mrs Abbey-Taylor added: “People have their views and they are entitled to express them but I would equally like them to listen to the proposal.”

The site is one of six across the Mid Suffolk district.

The group has organised its own public meeting for tonight at 7.30pm in the Parish Room. It has also started a petition against the proposals.

The earliest building work could start would be in the spring, subject to the approval of planning permission.