New use for old Deben school in Felixstowe secures planning permission
- Credit: East Suffolk Council
Plans to redevelop the former Deben High School site in Felixstowe have been given the go-ahead - with 61 homes, community space and sports facilities set to be created.
East Suffolk Council's planning south committee on Tuesday afternoon voted eight to one in favour of its own development for the Garrison Lane space, which will see 45 apartment homes and maisonettes created in addition to 16 houses.
The former assembly hall will be revamped as a community space.
The decision also approved outline permission for the old sports hall to become a bowls club, with a cricket pitch and pavilion on the playing fields.
The proposals have divided opinion, attracting 60 objections from the public which cited concerns over a lack of car park spaces - just one apiece for each of the 61 homes - as well as fears that back gardens of the adjacent Newry Avenue could be overlooked by three-storey apartment block balconies.
Felixstowe Town Council, while welcoming the principle of development, objected for the same reasons.
Despite the concerns raised, planning officers felt the benefits - which included a new use for a brownfield site, 42 much-needed affordable homes and new sports facilities to secure the future of the bowls and cricket clubs - outweighed the concerns.
Two existing buildings will be retained and the rest knocked down, with the homes set to Passivhaus standard - a nationally recognised benchmark for energy efficiency in homes.
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Councillor Richard Kerry, cabinet member for housing said: "This is outstanding news and illustrates this council’s commitment to delivering innovative schemes which meet local need while also fulfilling our longer term environmental and innovative ambitions."
Felixstowe ward councillors were split on the matter. Mike Deacon said he recognised concerns but said there was a "dire need" for affordable homes and said the benefits outweighed the harms.
However Stuart Bird said: "This concept of being pedestrian-led and parking-free is all very laudable in intention and ambition but it doesn't reflect the reality of habit of the likely occupiers."
Work can begin on the homes and community space element when the council is ready as it has secured full planning permission, but as the sports facilities plan was in outline form, a further application must come forward in future with the full details on that scheme for approval.