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Close call on affordable homes vote

PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:23 12 July 2010

A company specifically set up to build affordable homes was yesterday given the go-ahead for a major housing development straddling the boundary of Diss and Roydon.

A company specifically set up to build affordable homes was yesterday given the go-ahead for a major housing development straddling the boundary of Diss and Roydon.

But it was a close call - the 8-7 vote majority highlighting concerns raised at the district planning meeting.

These included the erosion of the greenbelt that currently separates the two communities, increased pressure on already crowded schools and oversubscribed health services, and whether there really is sufficient demand for the large number of low- cost homes proposed.

Developer Hayes Affordable Homes intends building a total of 114 properties on agricultural land at the Waveney Valley site between Roydon Road/Old High Road and Denmark Lane. Of these just 12 detached houses will be sold at full market value.

The vast majority will be offered at a discount to buyers who are desperate to get on the property ladder, with prices ranging from £66,000 plus £40 per month ground rent for a one- bedroom flat, to £99,000 plus £52 per month ground rent for a three- bedroom house. There will also be 15 homes for rent through a registered social landlord.

John Hayes, the company's managing director, said they had been “inundated with calls from people desperate for these homes” and their research had indicated there was clearly a high need for low cost properties in the area.

“It is a new and innovative method of bringing affordable homes to local people. We currently have 200 people who have expressed an interest in the development,” he stressed.

Roydon Parish Council spokesman, Paul Curson, said: “We are not against the proposal for affordable housing but we do object to the large number of units proposed and the questionable need for such a number. It is very easy for people to tick boxes when put in front of them.”

Resident Leslie Burrows said the loss of agricultural land would be “environmental vandalism” and claimed the development would increase traffic congestion and create an accident black spot.

Diss Town Council also called for the application to be rejected.

Spokesman John Maskell said: “Hayes Affordable Housing has said that purchasers will be able to own a maximum of 75pc of these houses. There will no ability for 100pc ownership which defeats the ethos of low cost housing for this start out on the housing ladder.”

Town councillors were worried about an already overloaded infrastructure in Diss and believed approving the scheme would set a precedent.

However, the meeting heard the site was not designated green belt requiring protection from development. Council officers were satisfied the housing proposed will be affordable, will meet a local need in Diss and Roydon that cannot be met in any other way, and will remain affordable in perpetuity through legally binding conditions.

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