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Council approves controversial proposal to build 69 homes within grounds of school, near Southwold

PUBLISHED: 17:49 12 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:49 12 July 2017

Saint Felix School at Reydon, near Southwold. Picture: BILL DARNELL

Saint Felix School at Reydon, near Southwold. Picture: BILL DARNELL

A controversial proposal to build 69 homes within the grounds of an independent school has been approved.

Waveney District Council’s planning committee passed the outline application for the former playing field at Saint Felix School, in Reydon, on Tuesday, July 11.

The residential scheme received 145 objections from local residents and organisations, however the school said it would provide them with the funds to carry out work to its premises and grounds, which it says is necessary to ensure its continued sustained operation.

Speaking in support of the application, Paul Ashdown, vice chairman of the planning committee, said: “The school is a big provider of employment in the local area and a school that we should support.”

Objections from the local community included the inability to secure community benefits - such as public access to sporting facilities, highway safety issues - in particular visibility when joining the A1096 from Keens Lane, and the long-term financial viability of the school – which has previously sold off land to aid its finances.

Reydon parish councillors objected to the housing being built outside the boundary of the settlement of the village and in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In their response to the application they said: “There is no local, regional or national need for the housing proposed that can justify breaching the policies designed to protect the countryside.

“Much of the housing will probably be bought and quickly resold as holiday lets or second homes, which currently constitute approximately 40pc of housing in Reydon and Southwold.”

The approval was subject to a Section 106 agreement, cash paid by developers of large schemes to help lessen the impact on the community of their projects.

The committee agreed that 35pc of the housing units built should be affordable and of some benefit in assisting the council in maintaining a deliverable supply of market and affordable housing.

The application was amended in August last year to introduce an additional area of open space on the part of the site that backs onto St Georges Square, resulting in a reduction in the number of houses proposed from 71 to 69.

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