Thousands of new homes for Waveney

Thousands of new homes could be built in Waveney over the next few years - along with much needed sports grounds, swimming pools and community centres.

Thousands of new homes could be built in Waveney over the next few years - along with much needed sports grounds, swimming pools and community centres.

Waveney District Council is drawing up the blueprint for planning in the district, and today publishes a list of sites which could meet the needs of local people for housing, jobs, leisure, health and education.

Many of the sites have been put forward by landowners and developers, while the document also includes an assessment of what the needs are in each of Waveney's five towns and surrounding areas.

Proposals include up to 4,000 homes in Holton, near Halesworth, new schools in Lake Lothing and Oulton, Lowestoft, a leisure centre and indoor swimming pool in Beccles, a multi-use sports centre in Halesworth, and a community centre in Bungay.

Lowestoft, with neighbouring Oulton and Carlton Colville, is in line to take most of the development. 3,800 homes must be built in Waveney by 2021, though 1,000 have planning permission already.

In Beccles, four sites have been proposed for a new leisure centre and indoor swimming pool. The town council has suggested sites at George Westwood Way, Common Lane and south of Nicholson Drive in Beccles, while a landowner has put forward land at Castle Farm in Worlingham. All four are on greenfield land. The report says that Nicholson Drive seems most suitable, but could cause disturbance to nearby residents.

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Beccles mayor Chris Scott said: “I am all in favour of a leisure centre, but I think it is important that we keep the outdoor pool open. In terms of housing, it is a case of what sort of housing it would be.”

There are hopes that long-held plans for a sports centre in Halesworth could be made a reality. Both the town council and the playing field association have suggested a site at Sparrowhawk Way in Holton, which landowner Robert Stephenson has also put forward as part of a package with 50 homes and a village green.

The report says: “The suggested sports field site would have social benefits, by improving facilities and opportunities for sport in the area. However, since the site is located outside of the built-up area, traffic could be generated and greenfield land would be lost.”

Some major developments are suggested around Halesworth, including 240 homes on green belt land off Hill Farm Road, up to 290 at Broadway Farm west of Norwich Road, and up to 3,900 on Holton airfield behind Bernard Matthews. The airfield is classed as brownfield land, though it is unlikely that so many houses would be built there. And few, if any, of the proposals for building on countryside are likely to find favour with the council.

Alan Holzer, chairman of Halesworth Town Council, said the document was Waveney “looking at possibilities”. But he said that building so many homes would “go totally against the principles of sustainability”.

Michael Hart, chairman of Holton Parish Council, said: “The only thing that worries me is that when you start putting up new houses you need the infrastructure, the doctors, the schools.

“I am certainly not against sports facilities. The area needs it.” But he questioned whether the scheme would actually happen - particularly if the associated housing does not get permission.

Bungay is not expected to take much extra housing, but the council is working together with the county council, police and others for a community centre on Old Grammar Lane where council and other services would also be available. Southwold, too, is not in line for much development, though the need for more affordable housing is highlighted.

Ken Sale, Waveney councillor for the built environment, said: “Residents' views will help the council to draft specific development control policies for further consultation and the final document will contain policies against which planning applications will be assessed. Contributions at this stage will be enormously helpful.”