Proposal to build new 71-home estate in Long Melford granted planning approval

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
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

Plans for the development of a new estate in Long Melford containing 71 new homes has been given the green light – but opponents believe legal action remains a possibility.

Babergh District Council awarded conditional planning permission to developer Hopkins Homes to construct the homes, along with estate roads, public open space, play areas and other infrastructure, on land at the south side of Bull Lane.

The planning committee followed the recommendation of officers, who said the public benefits of the application outweighed the adverse impacts which had been identified.

But Long Melford Parish Council has maintained its strong objections to the proposal, arguing it would be “seriously damaging to the character, economy and vitality” of the village.

Simon Bryan, development director of Hopkins Homes, said: “We are delighted our plans to create 71 attractive new homes in Long Melford and make a significant contribution towards addressing local housing needs on land already identified as being a deliverable site by Babergh District Council have been approved by the planning committee.

“In addition to new homes, the development will also provide almost £650,000 in community contributions towards improving local facilities and amenities.”

Construction is expected to start early next year.

But opponents say the site is unsuitable for development due to its condition and access issues, and argue the plans do not adequately mitigate effects on local traffic, health services and schools.

John Watts, Long Melford Parish Council planning committee chairman, said: “The parish council is very disappointed about the decision to grant planning permission.

“More than 100 homes are in the pipeline for Long Melford and further strain on the infrastructure of the village, the school, the doctor’s surgery and the road system will have unbearable consequences.

“The parish council and local residents are looking into the possibility of a legal challenge.”

Long Melford parish councillor and district councillor Richard Kemp added he felt the decision was flawed.

He contended that the district planning committee had rejected another housing application at the same meeting, for reasons which they also believed should have also applied to Long Melford.

However, while many villagers object to the plans, Bull Lane resident Stephen Gartland voiced his support.

“Young people are finding it extremely difficult to find affordable housing,” he said.

“That’s why we need schemes like this. Some of the objections are quite spurious. It’s been overblown.”