Bid to build 25 homes on top farm land

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Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

An application to build 25 homes on some of the best agricultural land in Boxford has been recommended for approval.

Suffolk Housing Society will find out on Wednesday if its application to build a new development on land east of Sand Hill will be rubber-stamped by members of Babergh District Council’s planning committee.

The site is on land described as some of the “best and most versatile” agricultural land.

The application would see 20 affordable rental properties built alongside five homes for sale.

Case officer Graham Chamberlain said the proposal should only be accepted if a number of conditions and financial contributions are met.

This includes a £75,000 contribution to improve the already full-to-capacity Boxford Primary School.

In his report, he says: “Education standards in Suffolk have fallen so it is important to ensure that planning decisions do not place further unmitigated pressure on education infrastructure.”

Financial contributions have also been requested for libraries and for improvements to a nearby bridleway.

A number of groups and individuals have raised concerns about the planned development.

One of those groups to object was the heritage office at Babergh District Council, which said the design of the development did not relate “in any way to the character of the village”, describing it as dull.

Babergh’s housing department has supported the application, saying it was the highest ranked site in the area for development following a local survey.

In total, 53 letters were received opposing the plans.

Comments included a backlash against the design, warnings of flooding and concerns over the loss of agricultural land.

Two letters were received in support, with one person describing it as a “shot in the arm for our struggling village”.