Councillors blast ‘flawed’ study on new village homes

Long Melford Bull Lane development. Councillors John Watts chair of planning Long Melford PC, John Nunn parish and district councillor and Richard Kemp Parish district and county councillor Picture Mark Westley ANL-160823-225028009
Long Melford Bull Lane development. Councillors John Watts chair of planning Long Melford PC, John Nunn parish and district councillor and Richard Kemp Parish district and county councillor Picture Mark Westley ANL-160823-225028009

A strong letter of objection to 71 new homes being built in Long Melford, has been sent by parish councillors to district planners.

It criticises a study on housing needs, which it says is “seriously flawed”.

The letter, along with a 40-page document, prepared by a planning consultant, has been sent to planners claiming the development does not comply with 18 out of 21 of the district council’s planning policies.

Long Melford Parish Council chairman Graham Eade said: “The housing needs study comes out with a ridiculous figure for Long Melford’s housing needs that would mean the village doubling in size over the next 13 years and supplying over a quarter of all the new homes needed by Babergh District Council in the 20-year period covered by its core strategy.

“I have asked Babergh’s planners for a response to the document we submitted, and the points made on our letter, and look forward to hearing their reaction, especially on the points made about the proposal failing to comply with Babergh’s own saved planning policies.”

The proposed development by Hopkins Homes includes 25 affordable properties, open spaces and garages.

Simon Bryan, development director at Hopkins said: “Our proposals will create 71 high quality new homes, including 25 affordable homes and 46 two-four bedroom homes. We have developed these proposals in accordance with Babergh District Council’s CS11 planning policy which promotes growth in core villages including Long Melford.

“The plans also include a large proportion of smaller two and three-bedroom homes and bungalows to meet the local housing needs as identified by the district council and the views of more than 4,000 local households.

“We have continued to develop the proposals in consultation with the district council, Suffolk County Council and Anglian Water to ensure there is no flooding risk and the community will be suitably served by road, public transport and routes for pedestrians and cyclists.”

In its letter, the parish council said it felt the planning application was an over-development of Long Melford, with 121 homes already approved to be built in two other developments.

It said that even without the 71 proposed homes being built in Bull Lane, the “rate of house building is in excess of that envisaged by Babergh’s Core Strategy” adding “Long Melford’s share of overall new housing required is well on the way to being met for the plan period 2011 to 2031 with over 13 years still to go.”