Eye Mayor Caroline Byles says a plan to build at least 200 homes in the town is the “biggest thing to happen to Eye since the Second World War.”
A consultation was held in the town hall on Wednesday to gauge feedback from residents, offering three options of potential proposals.
It is part of the Mid Suffolk District Council Core Strategy, from 2008, when at least 200 homes were allocated on the land north west of the town.
Cllr Byles said: “I think the consultation is definitely a step in the right direction in that I think the local community should be involved in housing developments as large as this one proposed.
“We read in the newspapers there is a terrific need for more houses and there is a terrific need to kick-start the construction industry.
“Most of Eye cannot be developed because it is surrounded by floodplain.
“I also believe that Eye has a tremendous number of shops and facilities, and it has the population of a very large village and in order to keep these facilities going I do believe we need more people to live in Eye and particularly, we need young families.”
Option A would feature 250 homes. The development would be served off either Haygate or Victoria Hill, with the trees retained, or Langton Grove, or a combination. It was the smallest option on offer.
Option B has 290 homes, containing an extra parcel of land to the west of the existing allotments, while Option C also has 290 properties, but is a more dense development to include an element of employment, such as small scale offices.
Reaction from visitors was mixed.
Eye resident Brett Fraser told the Diss Express: “It is a statement of fact that they are going to do it. There is no consultation.
“There should have been from the outset a properly organised with Mid Suffolk District Council and Suffolk County Council as to whether Eye wanted it in the first place.
“It is adding a colossal percentage in terms of the population in Eye. They will never, ever be able to build the infrastructure to support the development itself and the number of people being brought into the town.”
A mother who has lived in the town for six years added she agreed with the development “in principle” but did have concern for strain on services, particularly the primary school and doctor’s surgery.
A pensioner, born in the town, said Eye “must progress” but said the developments on offer were too large.
A spokesperson from Pegasus Group, a planning and development consultancy working with the local landowner, said: “This is an early stage consultation.
“We are asking people their opinion on which option, the traffic options, which access points to use, we are asking people about elements of the layout and the design and the landscape.
“In any consultation like this people are really interested in what are the traffic consequences, how do we manage on services, and what does this do to the fabric of the community.
Following the consultation, the design team, including council representatives, are set to examine the public responses and conduct a review of the current design concept options, which will “inform the direction in which the design brief will evolve.”
n To share your views with Pegasus, write to them by December 31 to Pegasus Group Ltd, 3 Pioneer Court, Chivers Way, Histon, Cambridge, CB24 9PT