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Plans to demolish more than 200 garages in Pembroke, Newnham, Emmanuel and Downing Closes, Mildenhall, given the go ahead by West Suffolk Council while plans for 375 homes in Lakenheath deferred

Plans to demolish more than 200 garages in Mildenhall to make way for ‘much-needed’ homes will go ahead despite hundreds of objections from residents.

On Wednesday, West Suffolk Council’s development control committee gave the green light to Flagship Housing’s proposals which will see 28 affordable houses and 165 parking spaces built across four sites in Pembroke, Newnham, Emmanuel and Downing Closes.

This was the second time the plans had been scrutinised after another version was thrown out last year.

The locations of the garage blocks Flagship seek to redevelope for housing.. (21187800)
The locations of the garage blocks Flagship seek to redevelope for housing.. (21187800)

The committee heard that up to 80 per cent of garages in these areas are unused and dilapidated, giving rise to anti-social behaviour.

But residents hit out at the claim, stating that any requests to rent a garage from Flagship had been turned down on the basis that they were full.

Ralph Shingfield, who spoke on behalf of Pembroke Close residents, said: “These plans will bring more vehicles to the area and it will become more dangerous for people who live here.”

Cllr Andy Neal, ward member for Mildenhall Queensway, spoke out against the plans, slamming Flagship’s idea that residents can rent garages elsewhere in the town.

“I think the people sitting here today, my fellow councillors, have no concept of what’s being asked of residents when they say to rent a garage in another place,” he said.

“For anyone bringing shopping home or their children home from school, it’s not practical. You couldn’t do it and you wouldn’t accept it.”

But Cllr Ian Houlder, who voted in favour of all four applications, said that the benefits brought by building affordable homes in the area would outweigh any negatives.

“The problem we’ve got in this county is homelessness and we have heard about the growing number of people on the list across East Anglia,” he said. “It’s those who don’t have a front door to close that are feeling it, and I think that does trump having a parking space.”

Plans to build 375 houses in Lakenheath were also hit with a fresh delay, with councillors calling for a site visit to be carried out.

A decision on the application, submitted by the Cobbold family and Pigeon Investment Management Ltd, has been pushed back after 11 of the 15 members agreed to defer the plans until after a site visit.

But is not yet clear when that visit will take place or when it will return for a committee decision.

The decision is the latest in a catalogue of road blocks the proposals have encountered since first being submitted in November 2014, including an intervention by then communities secretary Sajid Javid, changes to habitats legislation and other amendments needed.

As well as outline plans for the homes, the proposals also included a bid for full planning permission to create a new access road from Station Road and allocate land for a school.

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