Decision on controversial homes site

A bird's eye view of the former Fleetwood Caravans site in Long Melford. ANL-150527-095957001
A bird's eye view of the former Fleetwood Caravans site in Long Melford. ANL-150527-095957001
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A planning application for 44 new homes on a contentious Long Melford development site has got the thumbs up.

Babergh councillors met on Wednesday to vote on a new plan, recommended for approval, which includes sheltered housing on the former Fleetwood Caravans site.

A previous application for 51 homes was turned down four years ago over road safety fears.

Babergh councillor John Nunn, and county councillor Richard Kemp - who carried out a survey to find out what villages would like the site used for - said it was a difficult decision for the planning committee.

Cllr Nunn said: “Although the developers have made many alterations to their original plans following our survey, which now include a sheltered housing facility, the focus of Babergh’s decision must reflect upon the safety of the access.

“The developers have tried to reduce the traffic flows by changing the type of development. There are still grave concerns in the village that those dangers will still exist to an unacceptable level. That crucial final judgement rests with the elected members.”

In 2013, campaigners fought against the development of the four-acre former factory site over road safety fears, forming an action group.

At the time, scores of residents turned out to the committee meeting to hear the plans rejected, a decision later upheld at appeal following a three-day public inquiry.

The current application is by SB2 Long Melford Limited and includes 13 sheltered homes.

Councillors were told that highway safety impacts had been “carefully considered, having particular regard for an earlier decision refusing 51 dwellings on the site, which was upheld at appeal.”

The revised design proposes improved visibility for pedestrians using the pavement on Hall Street, with a second access proposed linking the site with Cock and Bell Lane, limited to use by pedestrians and cyclists.

Long Melford Parish Council recommended approval of the new scheme consisting of mainly two-storeys terraced, link attached or semi-detached houses and bungalows.