Council supports detailed plans to build 100 homes on meadow

Sudbury councillors Oliver Forder (left) and Jack Owen (right) with residents Fred Mumford and Jenny Armani at People's Park. ANL-150701-115032009
Sudbury councillors Oliver Forder (left) and Jack Owen (right) with residents Fred Mumford and Jenny Armani at People's Park. ANL-150701-115032009
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Councillors have decided to support plans that will see 100 homes built on People’s Park in Sudbury – despite questions over new play equipment.

Outline planning permission is already in place for the development of the site – officially known as Harp Close Meadow – with most debate at Sudbury Town Council’s planning committee meeting focusing on the detailed plans.

The site had been owned by the NHS and earmarked for a hospital in the town but, with construction of the new health centre, these plans were ditched and outline planning permission for the estate was granted in January 2013.

Essex-based developer Bellway Homes had included two play areas in its plans, with 40 per cent of the land set aside as public open space.

John Hughes, from Park Road in Sudbury, had contacted councillors before the meeting to raise his concerns over the two planned play areas.

At Monday’s meeting, Mr Hughes described the areas as “unnecessary” and said that without them, there would be more space for all to enjoy.

Planning committee chairman Jan Osborne agreed, saying: “This takes up a great deal of the proposed open space and, in my view, is not necessary.

“We already have excellent facilities at Ormiston Sudbury Academy – areas for football, tennis and basketball, plus acres of grassed play area, all within 400 metres of the development.”

She added that a total of 61 items of play equipment suitable for all ages were close to the planned estate, with 28 of these being within close proximity, situated between First and Second Avenue.

She argued these would be “within easy viewing of the residents” on the new site and would not require crossing a road.

Mrs Osborne, who has a property in close proximity to the new development, withdrew from the chance to vote on the plans.

Fellow member Sue Ayres also objected on similar grounds, but this view was not roundly taken up by other members on the committee.

Oliver Forder, who proposed that the application should be supported, said he was concerned about the nature of the discussion over play equipment.

“I feel a bit of a feeding frenzy is taking place,” he said.

“Those houses are likely to have young families and it’s very important to have play equipment readily available that they can overlook from the houses rather than having to go to other areas.”

Jack Owen said that in the past, the committee had argued for play equipment to be included in new developments and arguing against it in this case may lead to the committee being accused of being contradictory.

Overall, six councillors voted in favour of the application, with two against.

It will now move on to Babergh District Council’s planning committee, which will rule on the final design of the plans.