Community leaders urged to ‘think again’ over homes at Saint Felix School, Reydon
- Credit: Archant
Protesters are hoping public opinion will persuade community leaders to 'think again' over moves to use school playing fields for 69 new homes – and to oppose key elements of the project.
More than 110 people attended a public meeting organised by RAGE (Reydon Action Group for the Environment) to oppose plans by Saint Felix School to sell land for development.
The school, at Reydon near Southwold, has already been granted outline consent for the housing to raise more than £4m for improvements to ensure its future.
The proposals generated more than 200 objections with concerns including the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and potential 'major issues' for infrastructure-related services.
The RAGE meeting at Reydon Village Hall was told the plans were contrary to local and national planning policy but had been provisionally approved on the basis of being 'enabling development' to help the school.
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The meeting was told Waveney planning committee's vote was only the start of the process because a legal agreement to stipulate how the money generated would be spent would be referred back to councillors, and a separate planning application would be needed for a new playing field on an equestrian cross country course, described as a 'sensitive wildlife area' and part of a County Wildlife Site.
There would be applications, too, for the housing detail.
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Residents at the meeting voted almost unanimously to oppose the development at each step and to urge that the plan for the new playing field should be decided by councillors, not by officers.
Stephen Chessher, acting chairman of RAGE, said: 'The fact that over 110 people turned out to oppose this development sends a powerful message to Waveney planners that they should think again and reverse this appalling decision to allow a large housing estate in the AONB.
'It will mean the permanent loss of a valuable part of the AONB and most of the houses built will inevitably become second homes which Southwold and Reydon do not need.
'Worse still, developers will take this as a green light to build elsewhere in the AONB.'
Saint Felix has a long list of projects it says are 'necessary to ensure its continued sustainable operation'.