Fears raised in Kirkley by changes to planning laws

A MEETING has been organised by 'deeply concerned' residents in Kirkley over new planning laws which they fear could have major repercussions for their part of Lowestoft.

The Kirkley Residents Association has organised the meeting for next Wednesday to discuss the legislation, amid concerns that it may have a significant negative impact on their community.

Terry Trelawny Gower, a member of the association, said the residents' concerns were centred on a recent change in the law that made it possible to establish HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) without a formal planning application or public debate.

This could have a major impact on Kirkley, where many large period properties were already rented out room by room. 'This is considered a retrograde step for Kirkley, and will negate much of the work of Waveney District Council and the Kirkley community over the past two decades.

'It is a fact that Kirkley has reached a saturation point with regard to rented accommodation and the associated social and economic problems. Owner-occupiers are now a minority in certain areas,' he added.

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Mr Trelawny Gower has written to Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who has been invited to attend the Kirkley Residents Association meeting at the Kirkley Centre at 7pm next week.

The association is urging anyone who cares about Kirkley to come to the meeting, or to contact their local councillor.

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'Myself and others in Kirkley are deeply concerned at the recent planning legislation,' Mr Trelwany Gower said.

'Kirkley is designated an area of social and economic deprivation, and it is a fact that an over-development of HMOs and rented accommodation has contributed to this. Waveney District Council officers, councillors and residents have worked together over the past two decades to partially ameliorate some of the problems, which includes reducing significantly the number of HMOs.

'To allow the re-introduction of HMOs into Kirkley under the new planning legislation, would effectively be a major retrograde step, taking the area back to the condition of 20 years ago.'

Waveney District Council officers have also been invited to attend next week's meeting along with all the Kirkley councillors.

In his letter to Mr Aldous, Mr Trelawny Gower said: 'As residents, we are requesting that Waveney District Council apply a Section 4 Directive that would prevent such developments.

'We are advised that such a move requires the consent of the minister involved in approving the legislation, and we would request that you bring the matter to the minister's attention.'

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