Homes bid on field is under scrutiny

Saint Felix School at Reydon, near Southwold. Picture: Archant.

Saint Felix School at Reydon, near Southwold. Picture: Archant. - Credit: EDP © 2003

Last month we wrote about the planning application to build 69 houses on a playing field at St Felix School in Reydon, which we believed should be rejected.

Southwold and Reydon Society logo

Southwold and Reydon Society logo - Credit: Archant

Sadly, the Waveney District Council planning committee approved it. In doing so, they chose to exempt the proposal from all the local and national planning policies protecting the countryside, especially places such as this which are in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and close to a County Wildlife Site.

The proposal was judged to be an enabling development required to maintain the viability of the independent school. We disagree strongly.

Firstly, the enabling development rule is aimed to protect historic assets for the public good and we do not see how this applies here.

Secondly, the school's intended use of the £4m funds it hopes to raise appear to be largely for routine maintenance and refurbishment, which should be funded by its continuing revenues, not by realising capital by selling its own assets.

A local residents' campaign group is working vigorously to challenge the decision. Known as RAGE (Reydon Action Group for the Environment), they believe that the planning officers' report did not adequately present the case made by more than 150 objectors (individuals and organisations) and misinterpreted the rules concerning enabling applications.

They also believe that the planning committee meeting was poorly managed and that its members were confused about the decision on which they voted. Therefore, RAGE believes that there were significant flaws in the process, sufficient to require the decision to be set aside.

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Southwold and Reydon Society fully supports the aims of RAGE.

We feel that there is little point in having planning policies to protect the countryside if they can be so easily sidestepped.

Ironically, Waveney are now consulting on the first draft of the new Local Plan which will govern planning policy 2018-2036.

This proposes a significant expansion of Reydon with 250 new homes to be built on land west of Copperwheat Avenue. The consultation closes on September 22 and the Society will consult our members and respond in depth to what is proposed.

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