A developer’s plans to replace garages with new affordable homes have been met with anger by residents, with 100 meeting to oppose the plans.
Havebury Housing Partnership plans to replace 78 garages with 27 affordable homes across five sites on the Clements estate.
Nearly 100 people attended last Friday’s (25) meeting, chaired by town mayor Roger André, to express their concerns about the proposals for Norton Road, Orford Road, Nayland Road and Ladygate.
Worries were raised about the volume of vehicles being displaced from the existing garages onto roads and also the increase in cars that new homes would entail.
The new homes would have dedicated parking, although there are concerns about the density of housing in an area where green space is already considered scarce.
Traffic congestion, access for emergency vehicles, limited street parking and the inability of infrastructure such as schools and GP surgeries to cope with the additional residents were also among the concerns that have led to residents starting a petition and preparing a draft objection against the plans.
There is an exhibition of the proposals and a public consultation at Haverhill Arts Centre next Wednesday (7) from 3pm to 7.30pm.
Havebury had to rush through the plans for them to be included in its bid programme to the Homes and Communities Agency.
Cllr André said: “Along with the majority of residents we welcome the Havebury investment in affordable housing for our community.
“We recognise the constraints imposed by deadlines for grant funding but the local community must have ample opportunity to express their concerns and seek mitigation of the effect on their living space.
“The event will move us towards identifying their concerns and exploring an approach which will enhance these communities.”
The mayor acknowledged that Havebury has ‘proven track record in providing quality, energy efficient affordable homes’ and ‘a substantial portfolio of homes in Haverhill’ and residents recognise ‘the considerable challenge in meeting the housing needs’ and the role Havebury plays in achieving that.
Cllr Maureen Byrne, deputy mayor and the ward town and borough councillor, added: “Havebury have extensive experience in Haverhill and we all know the important challenge we face to provide sustainable and affordable housing to meet the needs of our growing community.
“Developers must have regard to infrastructure issues and the impact of additional homes on existing residents.
“Parking, traffic, access and open spaces are all issues that directly affect the quality of our built environment.
“People live in these areas and must have their issues addressed.
“We cannot allow developers to ride roughshod over residents legitimate concerns”
Havebury said some of its garage sites are under used, and thus hase been exploring ways of the sites being developed for homes.
Havebury chief executive Karen Mayhew said: “Havebury is committed to building affordable homes for those in housing need in partnership with the local authority, and so at this time we have submitted five applications to build homes on garage areas in Haverhill.
“We want to include these sites in our bid programme to the Homes and Communities Agency, but there is a very tight timescale.
“Whilst as yet we have to carry out a full public consultation, I would like to reassure residents that we will be arranging an event very shortly to talk them through the plans in detail, and work with them to find alternative garage accommodation in the local area.”
For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, May 1) Echo.