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Residents take Hamlet Croft housing fears to council

Wednesday, 5th October 2011.

About 30 Hamlet Road residents packed into Haverhill Town Council's meeting last night to register their protests about plans for housing to be built on the former Haverhill Rovers football ground, Hamlet Croft.

The site, which became redundant when the football club moved to their new ground at Chalkstone Way last year, belongs to St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

But the council has agreed to sell it to Bloor Homes, its 'preferred' partner in developing the land, who plan to build 91 homes on it.

The site has been earmarked for development for many years, but residents living nearby want it retained as open space.

They attended the meeting at which representatives of Bloor Homes were making a presentation to the town council to explain their ideas.

They held an exhibition recently to show a design concept which they hope to work up into a planning application, and it drew a series of concerns from the residents.

Their worries fall into three areas - drainage, access and traffic - and they re-iterated them to town councillors, telling them they expected them to represent their views to the planning authority, St Edmundsbury.

The residents were led by Christine Murgatroyd who told councillors it was a residential area which had traffic problems already, without adding 91 new homes.

She had attended the exhibition looking to be positive but was dismayed by what she had seen.

"Bloor Homes are not here to win a popularity contest," she said, "they are here to make money.

"This is one of the nicest parts of Haverhill. When the Rovers first moved to their new ground they maintained this site and it was really nice with childrten playing, joggers and picnics.

"In fact it was used for recreational purposes more than it was when the Rovers played there."

More recently, she said, the site had become uncared for and now suffered from some anti-social behaviour.

Stephen Wilkins told councillors his cat had been killed in Hamlet Road last week by a car swerving to avoid a squirrel it was chasing.

"Think if you substitute a ball and a boy for the squirrel and the cat," he said.

Hugh Robson said residents in Elmhurst Close like him were concerned about flooding, because it was in a flood plain.

"The river is bunged up with trees along there and no one looks after it, and now you want to put more water in there," he said.

Some residents were concerned the new homes would get parking for some 200 cars in all, and then the traffic problems would result in a ban on parking in Hamlet Road and current residents losing their spaces.

Town mayor Cllr Maureen Byrne assured residents councillors were aware of the traffic problems in Hamlet Road, and town clerk Gordon Mussett told them there was no planning application yet for councillors to comment on.

But some councillors aired their concerns anyway, with Cllr Lisa Carr describing it as a historic part of Haverhill, where drainage was a major issue.

"Traffic in and out of the ground on a match day was horrendous and we have to think about these issues because they are going to be very serious for these people," she said.

Cllr Les Ager said Hamlet Road was always a problem with parking and that he had had his car hit there earlier in the year.

"The houses there were built before homes were given garages," he said, "and it's the only place for people who live there to park.

"The number of houses does seem to me to be way over the top."

He said the drainage issue was very real as well. "I've supported Haverhill Rovers for 60 years and that ground was often like a bog," he said.

Mr Mussett said they expected a planning application to appear in November or December, and councillors agreed to consider their comments on it very carefully.

Members heard the borough council had agreed the sale with Bloor Homes subject to planning permission.

Haverhill Online News

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