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Residents make silent protest

PUBLISHED: 20:56 30 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

MORE than 80 residents packed a meeting to make a silent protest over a controversial plan to build 35 properties for homeless people.

It was the largest attendance at a meeting of Woodbridge Town Council for many years and Cliff Cocker, chairman of its planning committee, said the social housing scheme was an emotive issue.

MORE than 80 residents packed a meeting to make a silent protest over a controversial plan to build 35 properties for homeless people.

It was the largest attendance at a meeting of Woodbridge Town Council for many years and Cliff Cocker, chairman of its planning committee, said the social housing scheme was an emotive issue.

Suffolk Heritage Housing Association has asked Suffolk Coastal District Council for permission to build 35 homes and flats on land off Haugh Lane, Woodbridge.

The £2.75 million scheme is aimed at easing the homeless problem in the town where young people in particular cannot afford to buy a home and where the average house price is more than £100,000.

Woodbridge Town Council rejected the scheme, arguing the project had been rushed through without sufficient consultation.

It will ask for a revised plan from the housing association and for the district council to produce a planning brief for the site – which is a former allotments' area now turned into woodland.

The council also wanted a series of public meetings to keep residents and other interested parties informed.

Town councillor Anni Healey said the present plan would provide an extremely dense development and directly affect two properties.

"I deplore the lack of any traffic survey on Haughate Close or Haugh Lane. Haugh Lane is a narrow road with traffic problems at present," she added.

"The plan has only been available for two weeks and it shocks me how lacking it is in answers."

Fellow councillor Russell Geen said: "We need social housing very badly in Woodbridge, but I feel this is not the place for it. The traffic is getting worse and I think it will be a headache for people."

The Residents Against Haugh Lane Development Association claimed the scheme did not match the established pattern, spacing and density of the present surrounding housing, and it was worried it would become a ghetto.

Feelings over the impact of the social housing are running high and Suffolk Coastal District Council is being urged by some town councillors to make a statement later this week to allay the public's fears.

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