Controversial plans for new homes to be built on a 31-acre site in Great Cornard are back on the agenda – with a recommendation for approval.
Persimmon Homes has submitted a fresh application for 166 new houses, including 58 affordable flats and bungalows, on land east of Carsons Drive despite significant opposition from the town and parish council as well as residents.
As well as fears for road safety, opposition focuses on the impact the development would have on the nearby 13th century Abbas Hall, which is the second oldest building in Suffolk, and which has an association with artist Thomas Gainsborough.
Residents believe the development would spoil views captured within Gainsborough’s paintings, including Cornards Woods and Mr and Mrs Andrews.
However, in a report which will go before planning councillors on Wednesday, Babergh District Council recommends granting permission saying: “The proposal will not cause substantial harm or total loss of significance to Abbas Hall and its setting, a Grade I listed building which has cultural associations to the artist Thomas Gainsborough.
“The development, therefore, gives rise to less than substantial harm which should be weighed against the public benefits of the proposal.”
A previous application by Persimmon made in April 2013 for 170 homes was rejected by the council. Persimmon appealed and this was dismissed in January 2014.
The owners of Abbas Hall, together with Great Cornard Parish Council, Sudbury Town Council, Suffolk Preservation Society and English Heritage have all objected to the revised scheme.
Sudbury Town Council said it was concerned about the impact of the development on Sudbury’s infrastructure. It also expressed concerns about traffic congestion and parking, but said it welcomed the amount of affordable new homes.
The site has been allocated for housing by Babergh since 2006.