Fear new homes plan could destroy village

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Debate over plans to build more affordable homes in Boxford are to continue amid concerns a new development would destroy what makes the village special.

Proposals are being drawn up for the construction of 25 new homes – 20 of which would be affordable – on Sand Hill.

On Friday, an exhibition was held at Boxford Primary School to give residents the chance to view and comment on the plans.

Sue Bevan, from Cox Hill, said villagers had expressed a lot of concern about the proposals.

“I don’t think it is right for the village,” said the 81-year-old.

“It could destroy the wonderful area that we live in and what makes people want to come here.”

Mrs Bevan, who has lived in the village for 40 years, said she was worried about the prospect of homes being built on a greenfield site and claimed the extra traffic it would bring would result in “horrendous” congestion.

David Wasp, whose home backs on to the site, said he had reservations about the scale of the development and the impact on his privacy.

“I don’t think Boxford can take all this development and it would devalue my house,” said the 34-year-old.

A survey carried out in 2010 highlighted the need for more affordable housing in the village and recommended that two developments of 15 homes should be built.

With the development of 21 homes behind Swan Street and Daking Avenue already under way, many feel the additional homes would put added pressure on the area’s infrastructure, with Boxford Primary School oversubscribed.

Tina Loose, chairman of the Boxford Society, which monitors planning applications in the village, said the majority of members agreed more housing was needed.

“If we don’t choose something, then we could be forced to have something which is less desirable,” she said.

“We have to get what is best for the village.”

Mrs Loose said that although there were around 10 potential sites for development, the narrowness of Swan Street caused difficulties.

“Generally, people seem happier about this development in terms of traffic, but I know there are concerns about the school and also the lack of paths coming down to the village,” said Mrs Loose, who revealed the society was to hold a meeting about the plans tomorrow.

“There will be further discussion about whether this is the right place, the appropriateness of the buildings and the appearance.”

Nathan Cole, project manager at Iceni Homes, which will work with Babergh District Council and Boxford Parish Council on the scheme, said the plans were not set in stone and feedback from public consultation would be taken into account.

“The need for affordable properties has been identified and we will be meeting with the parish council to digest feedback received soon,” he said.

No date has been set for submission of the plans.