Southwold Town Council to object to the outline planning application for 9 houses on the Southwold Police Station site.

At a well attended meeting last night Southwold Town Council considered the request from Suffolk Police Authority for planning permission for nine 1 / 2 bed properties on the police station site.

The site has been up for sale for a period of time, and the Police Authority are now applying for outline planning permission for nine market houses.

The council members received a presentation from Cllr Jeans, Chair of the Town Council Planning and Development Cttee, which set out the background to the marketing of the police site and its links to the vacant former fire station site, the request as detailed within the planning application, and the planning policies to which consideration should be given when considering the application.

The Town Council had, in 2015,  commissioned a report from Ingleton Wood on a design code for the then vacant properties at the Front of the Town (which include both the police and fire station sites) and the Town Council requirements for the Front of Town design framework were set out at the meeting together with  the preferred building out of  the site as described within framework and within the emerging Neighbourhood Plan,

The application does not include any affordable housing on the site and the proposed new builds would therefore be sold on the open market. In view of the already high proportion of second homes and holiday homes in the town, discussion also took place regarding the provision of the principal residence requirements being sought within the emerging Neighbourhood Plan and the effect this policy might have on the site, and at what stage these could take effect.

Councillors were concerned that the police station, which is still used daily by the Police Community Support Officer (who is funded by the Town Council) would not remain within the town if the application was agreed. No details were provided in the application about any alternative site and councillors agreed that the police station is considered as an important community facility. Councillors unanimously agreed to recommend to East Suffolk District Council that the Local Planning Authority refuse the application as it presently stands.

Commenting on the application, Cllr Jeans said ‘the Town Council would like to see police station continuing to be used for community benefit with the remainder of the site providing affordable housing”

Members of the public are able to respond to the planning application Dc/19/4711/OUT by logging onto the East Suffolk Council planning portal and submitting comments by 10th January 2020.