Greenfield homes plans turned down by councillors

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Plans for 15 homes on the ‘best and most versatile’ greenfield land which would have expanded a village by 11 per cent have been rejected.

After two rounds of consultation, attracting 49 letters of objection, members of Babergh District Council’s planning committee rejected plans for the homes to be built in Whatfield.

If accepted applicant Mrs Riddleston would have built 15 homes on land to the south east of Wheatfields in the village, built on farmland described as some of the “best and most versatile” agricultural land.

Sitting near to Grade II listed Barrard’s Hall, the site also fell in an area of high archaeological potential.

Members decided to go with the recommendation from case officer Graham Chamberlain to reject the proposal.

In his report Mr Chamberlain said: “Whatfield is at the lower end of the ‘sustainability spectrum’ with very few everyday facilities such as shops, pubs and employment opportunities.

“New development therefore would be isolated from services and unsustainable.”

Mr Chamberlain said the village had already experienced relatively high levels of growth, with permission already given for 15 new homes.

If the latest plans had been accepted the village would have seen recent and planned growth increase the village by 34 per cent, with Mr Chamberlain stating this was against the incremental growth as set out in Babergh’s core policy.

He added that since there were few facilities in the village the economic boost would actually be felt in other towns such as Hadleigh.

“It would make more sense to locate these houses where the spend would be,” he said.

The layout and design was also criticised, with a lack of open space highlighted.

Forty-nine letters of objection were received as well as objections from Whatfield Parish Council.

The letters raised issues including the lack of public transport, power supply issues, lack of space at nearby schools and doctors surgeries, pressures on road networks, lack of facilities, harm to the quality of the countryside and unnecessary use of farmland.