Council narrowly approves 220 new homes despite concern second homes ‘spreading like coronavirus’
- Credit: Archant
A controversial 220 home village development has been given the green light by a council despite concerns that many properties will be used as holiday houses.
A new housing estate is to be built on 12 hectares of land to the west of Reydon, on an area of natural beauty in Suffolk, after councillors gave controversial plans the go ahead with a margin of five votes to four.
The land had been earmarked for development in the most recent East Suffolk Council (Waveney) local plan, and was considered by senior development managers as having 'great potential' for linking up with the rest of Reydon while ensuring the region meets its targets for affordable housing.
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However a planning committee was urged by councillors and residents to defer or refuse the application over concerns that the development would add to a holiday home crisis which is 'spreading like coronavirus', according to one councillor.
In nearby Southwold, as many as 60pc of properties are used as second homes or holiday lets (the highest proportion anywhere in the country). In Reydon, 30pc of properties are already second homes, and residents told East Suffolk Council's planning committee they were concerned about the impact of the development on the village's future.
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'I fully supported this application a year ago before I realised some of these houses would become second homes,' said David Beavan, the East Suffolk councillor for Reydon.
'I'm not against housing and appreciate the need but we don't want any more second homes.'
Ridley Burnett, of the Southwold and Reydon Society, urged refusal of the application, or a condition to the plans that ensured those buying new developments lived or worked nearby.
'If not, we ask that the application is rejected or deferred until the neighbourhood plan is adopted later in the year,' he said.
Senior development managers said they recognised the concerns, but noted the Reydon neighbourhood plan gave 'limited weight' to inspectors when making their decisions.
'It will only create a low level harm to one listed farm building nearby, and this should be weighed against the public benefits to the development,' a senior development manager said.
Of the 220 homes, 88 are reserved for affordable housing and seven are reserved for those who have lost their homes due to coastal erosion.