Flats scheme with no parking spaces is approved in the centre of Bury St Edmunds

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The chairman of a trader’s association has blasted fellow councillors for approving plans for flats on land off Risbygate Street this morning.

Cllr Paul Hopfensperger, chairman of the Risbygate Street Traders Association was banned from speaking at this morning’s St Edmundsbury Borough Council development control committee as any development will impact on the price of his house which is next door to the site.

He tweeted after the meeting: “Appalling decision. We need affordable housing, but not in the middle of a shopping district. Where will they park?”

Councillors approved Havebury Housing Partnerships plans for 29 affordable flats to be built at the school yard site despite hearing residents objections and those of ward Cllr Paul Farmer.

Among their concerns was the density of the development and the fact that it does not include a single parking space.

Philip Leslie who spoke on behalf of the Nelson Road residents said: “You do not help desperate people by cramming them into a warehouse – 29 flats is too much.”

He said it was unrealistic to expect that none of the residents would have cars, and that in turn he said would impact on residents in the neigbouring Nelson Road.

Instead he and Cllr Farmer backed suggestions by The Bury Society that the development should be scaled down by about 20 per cent and some parking added.

Cllr Farmer said the number of flats proposed for the site was so many it would be like a ‘Giant tin of sardihes’.

But Cllr David Nettleton, whose ward overlaps the area, backed the scheme, saying there was enough parking spaces in the council car parks and if teh residents have a car they can buy a season ticket.

Karen Mayhew, the chief executive of Havebury said: “This particular site has £500,000 of growth funding. If we can’t deliver in that time scale we risk that funding being lost indefinitely.”

She said the size of the affordable homes was 10 per cent above the minimal levels in national guidance

“We believe this is a scheme of appropriate scale and density,” she said.

Ms Mayhew also told the committee there are 2,000 people on the borough housing waiting list. In Bury there are 330 people on the list that are looking for one bed accomodation, she said, and 230 people waiting for two bed accomodation.

She also said there have been 33 people since January that have had to be put up in bed and breakfasts because they have lost their home, and there is no other suitable housing to place them in.

The parking issues, she hopes will be minimised by advertising the fact that there is no parking with the properties.

The committee discussed the applications but its comments were limited to issues over the appearance of the development.

They voted 11-3 in favour of the scheme.