Supporters Against Fressingfield Expansion – SAFE
Early in 2017 we became aware of the Mid Suffolk Document “Strategic Housing & Economic Land Availability Assessment” ( SHELAA). This ,somewhat alarmingly, indentified significant parcels of land around Fressingfield for potential major development , whereas sites in very similar villages were not indentified for development in the same way. We thought this was not an equitable approach to Planning decisions and decided to look into this further.
In February 2017 two “hybrid” schemes, the Scout hut with housing and the Chapel with housing were nearing Planning Approval . Many of us in the Village were unaware of this, especially that a “hybrid Application” meant that the houses could be built without the other element. Even the Parish Council were unaware of this.
A month later Planning Approval was sought for schemes at John Shepherd Road, Post Mill Lane and Stradbroke Road. The three schemes total over 200 houses, this is in addition to over 50 houses already approved. At this stage we decided to be active. We arranged a door to door petition and found that 94% of villagers were against large scale developments. It became even more apparent that residents in the village were unaware of what was going on and so we decided to publicise what was happening. After publicity Parish Council Meetings were well attended and the voice of the village was made known. SAFE developed into a lobbying group, communicating with District and County Councils as well as our local MP. Our aim is to ” Limit Major Development in Fressingfield “.
Following an article SAFE wrote on housing developments in the Parish Magazine in April 2017 it seemed that many in the village were very much against over-development and others had no idea about the potential, future developments . Posters were located around the village and people talked and asked questions. It was soon obvious that too much development in our small, rural village was not wanted. So a Petition was organised. The Petition stated:-
“We, the undersigned support the Parish Council’s declared objective of the building of 50 new houses in our village over the next 10 years. However, we strongly reject any plans for further large scale developments beyond the 50 houses ( up to 300 are in the pipeline) including those proposed for Post Mill lane, Stradbroke Road and John Shepherd Road.”
Volunteers called at as many houses as possible and visited ALL possible roads in the central area of the village. There was no selectivity. We were very heartened by the interest and welcome given by everyone. Even the few who, for personal reasons , felt unable to sign the Petition were interested.
Analysis of the result:-
Signed in support – 450 (93.8%)
Did not sign (either in favour of developments, or felt compromised by signing) – 28 (6.2%)
This was an overwhelming result.
Actions Undertaken By SAFE
SAFE organised and arranged the posters in the village to limit development. We instigated public meetings, wrote lobbying papers and encouraged others to do so. We will circulate details of the Planning Committee Meeting and arrange transport, once the date is finalised. Articles have been written for Six Sense to keep the village informed.
SAFE has written to specialist departments at District and County Council level to make them aware of specific concerns of villagers. There has been a contiguous dialogue with personnel at Anglian Water and our representatives have met, and written to our MP, Dr. Dan Poulter, which can be viewed by following this link: Dr Dan Poulter Letter (Attached document can be found here: Fressingfield Developments: Highways and road safety issues)