Homes must benefit village in long-term

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Latest community news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

A balance between what is needed and what is right for Boxford needs to be struck if proposals for 25 new homes are to benefit the village.

Plans for the homes, submitted by Iceni Homes and Suffolk Housing, for land in Sand Hill have been met with criticism from residents.

Many feel the houses, 20 of which would be affordable, would increase the risk of flooding, congestion and overload the area’s infrastructure.

Roger Balls, chairman of Boxford Parish Council, said the homes were needed, but there were issues with some aspects of the plans.

“The decision is do we support it, as we need the houses, or back out at the last minute?” he said.

“We have to balance it against what is best for the village, as we want to keep young people with a relationship to Boxford here.”

The parish council has worked with developers and Babergh District Council on proposals for the site since a housing survey identified a need for affordable properties three years ago.

Mr Balls said attempts were being made to “spread the pain” associated with housing developments around the village.

“I know there has been lots of opposition and you can get that in these circumstances,” he said. “I am anxious that we need to stay away from the Goodlands development, but this site was available and suits the developer.”

Mr Balls added that a working party had been set up to pursue options to solve drainage problems and pedestrian access to Sand Hill.

“The footpath is a concern and access has to be improved in order for the parish council to support the plans,” he said.

Ian Winslet, chief executive at Suffolk Housing, said the houses had to be built to prevent young people moving away.

“What will happen to the local shops and pubs, the village school, the small businesses that maintain rural economies, if there is no-one left to keep them open?” he said. “It is up to all of us to halt this rural decline.”

The parish council will discuss the plans on Monday.