Fewer homes on Erskine Lodge

Erskine Lodge, Great Whelnetham ANL-140826-154145009

Erskine Lodge, Great Whelnetham ANL-140826-154145009

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A proposed development brief for the controversial Erskine Lodge site will be for 10 fewer houses than was previously suggested.

The former sheltered housing site in Great Whelnetham is allocated for residential development in St Edmundsbury’s Rural Vision 2031 plan, though the density was not laid down.

On Wednesday, the borough’s sustainable development working party will consider the brief which will confirm density and housing mix for the site.

The brief proposes an overall density of up to 30 dwellings per hectare. That equates to 63 homes on the 2.1 hectare site, instead of 73 at 35 per hectare originally proposed by Havebury Housing.

Other changes include updating the plan to show the River Lark and tributaries, providing safe pedestrian and cycle access through the site to the rights of way network and to have detailed designs for ‘sensitive lighting’ and habitat management.

Councillors will also see the comments received as part of the consultation with local people on the site’s future.

The largest number of objections was 15 to the idea of flats in a village, including from the parish council and church.

The developers replied: “Flats or one/two bedroom dwellings are a building typology that are evident in most towns and villages. There are a number of recent examples of local developments that incorporate and integrate flats successfully into village locations, through sympathetic design.”

Several objectors believed Vision 2031 says there will only be 10 new homes in the village, but the developers’ response is that that applied to Tutelina Rise and that the figures for Erskine Lodge were ‘excluded with the capacity to be confirmed by the development brief.’

Some people called for the lodge to be reused and complained of the loss of a facility for the elderly, but Havebury says its bedsits with shared facilities ‘proved to be undesirable’ and were difficult to let. The detailed planning application will consider flexible accommodation to meet elderly needs, it says.

Three people felt the site should not have two-storey houses overlooking existing homes. The developers promised the detailed plan would determine heights and separation to mitigate overlooking.