Dear Framlinghamians,

Those that lodged objections earlier in the year against the planning application for 100 new houses on Mount Pleasant, will have received notification of a new planning application by Persimmon Homes for 95 houses on the same site, land south of Mount Pleasant.

This is NOT the same application. This is a NEW one. And apparently, according to SCDC, this is quite commonplace for a developer to lodge another planning application even though one for the same site is going to appeal.

In fact, this is when we most need to muster resistance. The developers have deep pockets and even deeper patience to play the ‘long game’. It is after all what they do. Whereas for the rest of us, this is on top of everything else that we do….caring for our families and trying to earn a living!  Also, the timing is quite deliberate, bang in the middle of the holiday period. So we have to start again… and register our objections. Otherwise the developer will claim that resistance to scheme has evaporated now they have revised the plans.

So FRAm has read through the report and surmises the following:

  1. The revised plan is clearly being used to try and address the issues cited by SCDC when the original application was rejected. The covering letter confirms this and refers to a Socio-Economic report which they claim addresses the reasons for rejection. This is clearly a ploy to get in ahead of the appeal and thus influence the outcome.
  2. The new plans are for 95 dwellings rather than 100 but it is very difficult to spot the differences.
    – amended the two rows of terraced houses near the northern boundary to be 10 standard units rather than 11 affordable houses
    – changed the paths and added a few more trees
    – removed two dwellings from the main access road (one from each side of the road)
    – re-sited the affordable homes that were located at the north of the site to the south which has resulted in a slightly different mix of units
    – added some chimneys to the houses fronting Mount Pleasant.
  3. Employment: The applicants use a Socio Economic report to address the infrastructure issues cited by SCDC in their reasons for rejecting the original application. The report concludes Framlingham has almost full employment, a good level of employment provision with increasing opportunity for more jobs via the Technology Centre and further 3.32ha of employment land allocated in the local plan. It also notes that half of all residents either work from home or travel less than 5km to work. It does not note that if the home workers are ignored then 425 people work within 5km but 648 travel more than 5km, and of those 593 travel more than 10km to work. This actually shows that Framlingham does not have a big employment offer and unless you run your own business and work from home you are more likely to travel over 10km to work than you are to work in the town. High levels of self-employment and homeworking are normally an indication that other employment opportunities are sparse rather than plentiful and we think this is actually a more realistic picture of Framlingham than the report suggests.Para 6.10 of the report says the development will lead to an additional 111 working age residents but as new developments tend to attract younger people it is likely to be a larger figure and this will boost the economy of the town. The fallacy in this argument is that while the developer can guarantee the 95 new homes in two years, they do not say where the 111 new jobs are going to come from. Given the large proportion of self-employment and homeworking; the cost of the homes relative to local incomes and the lack of any large industry in the town it is certain that the new working age residents will work out of town rather than in it.We note that developer’s own The Interim Travel Plan contradicts the Socio-Economic report when under the heading ‘Barriers to Sustainable Travel’ it highlights ‘Constrained catchment of employment within sustainable travel distance’. This highlights how the report has been designed to present an unrealistically rosy view of local employment.
  4. Healthcare: The report concludes that with the reduced number of dwellings a smaller S106 developer contribution is required and that, based on the NHS England figures from the original application, a revised figure of £31,200 will suffice. The reality is this – Consultants LPP working on behalf of NHSE (National Health Service East) report that the Framlingham Surgery is already 2540 patients over capacity. Using the NHS optimum list size per GP the practice will need approximately 1.9 new full time GP’s to make up the existing deficit and accommodate the confirmed developments in Station Road plus the proposed developments in Mount Pleasant and Fairfield Road. This equates to 247m2 of additional floor space – again using the NHS ratios from the LLP paper. The planning permission granted in January 2013 provides 128m2 of additional space so even if this was built then the surgery would still be constrained. The Framlingham Medical Centre Practice Manager has said ‘Should any of these applications be approved, this would have a significant impact on both the current and future provision of primary care services within the local community’ and ‘Framlingham Medical Practice has previously submitted plans to expand the existing surgery site. However, due to the current economic climate the NHS is unable to support or provide any funding for surgery extensions.’ The S106 or CIL monies do not provide the total cost required for the expansion of our medical facilities and as the Practice Manager points out additional funding is not readily available. Given the constrained nature of the site and the current economic austerity it is highly unlikely that the existing facilities will be expanded in time to cope with the existing deficit let alone any additional demand from the Station Road new homes and Mount Pleasant. The truth is that at the moment there are no fully funded plans in place to accommodate the over-capacity and any such plans, if they ever materialise, are very unlikely to be in place before the burden of the new proposed developments is upon us.The report also notes that Framlingham has a higher than average number of retired and older residents and elderly people require higher demand for healthcare. Consequently the impact of even a small population increase will be of great detriment to a large proportion of existing residents.
  5. Education: The applicant notes that ‘In preparing the revised application, discussions have been held with County Council Schools department and they remain committed to bringing forward additional capacity at Sir Robert Hitcham’s Primary School through extensions and improvement. In other words they acknowledge that there is insufficient primary education capacity. They do not however address how those additional places will be provided. SCC has previously said pupils may have to be bused to out-of-town facilities for the ‘short-term’. Once again this is putting a false gloss on reality. When we consider the CEVA status of the school, the site constraints and general economic austerity it will be a long process to agree any permanent expansion of the school so busing school children to out-of-town facilities is likely to be a long-term solution not a short one. It is irresponsible of the developer to misguide the public by implying that all the above problems are simply resolved by an S106 or CIL contribution.No mention is made of the development’s impact on pre-school provision or any additional resources in that area.
  6. Economic Benefits – The report identifies that the 201 new residents will generate £1.886M per annum from incremental consumer spending. This figure does not take into account an earlier observation (para 3.6) that the local retail offering was limited and that residents would have to travel to out-of-town sites such as Ipswich, Norwich and Bury St Edmunds to satisfy all but their daily shopping needs. We can therefore assume that this figure is grossly inflated and can be largely discounted.
  7. The report is interesting in what it does not address. Roads, parking and public transport are all major concerns for local residents but are not addressed.
  8. The Interim Travel Plan is basically the same as the Taylor Wimpey one for Fairfield Road i.e. we will give new residents a £50 bicycle voucher, a £50 bus pass and make sure they get a new timetable bi-annually to stop people using their cars. It notes that there is a good supply of bus stops around the site but omits to mention the very poor supply of buses.

So Persimmon have produced a report that concludes that a S106 contribution will solve all healthcare and education infrastructure problems, whilst the economic benefits will be huge despite the contradictions regarding job opportunities and limited local retail/leisure offering to attract that income.

One of our members has kindly sent us his letter regarding Mount Pleasant which he is happy to share with others (please click here for a copy:
https://gallery.mailchimp.com/4b7e58442edd492d51c478ba8/files/Mount_Pleasant_objection_letter.pages).  There are some key points regarding the road and traffic which would be good to reinforce in our objection letters.

It is also worth noting that SCDC have altered their planning committee structure. There is now one amalgamated larger committee that has members from all over the district sitting on it. Therefore planning applications affecting Framlingham will be decided by committee members who come from…. say Felixstowe. Yep, think about it.

So letters off and lodged by Tuesday 25 August 2015.
Don’t Delay – Do it Today!

In the meantime, any questions please email us at:

framresidents@gmail.com

Continue to help us make a difference.