Villagers battle on over 71-home plan for Long Melford

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

Long Melford Parish Council has again opposed plans to build 71 homes on land off Bull Lane.

It is the fifth time the council has written to planning authority Babergh District Council to object to the development.

The application was due to be heard by Babergh’s planning committee in December but was postponed so Babergh could consider the implications of a judicial review, brought by East Bergholt Parish Council.

As a result of the judge’s decision against Babergh, the council sent out revised advice to its officers and councillors. For developments outside a built-up area boundary there must be proven local need and exceptional circumstances.

Long Melford parish councillors say the Bull Lane application goes against the advice as the site is outside the village boundary. County, district and parish councillor Richard Kemp said: “Hopkins’ agent says the so-called need is shown by a housing needs survey that they conducted in 2015.

“But as we have said before, this survey was seriously flawed in several ways and comes up with ridiculous results.

“The survey does not show needs at all – the key questions in the questionnaire do not ask about need, they ask where people would like or expect to move.

“Babergh’s briefing to officers says need is distinct from demand or personal preference and the latter would not satisfy their requirement for proven local need.

Fellow district and parish councillor John Nunn cited a recommendation to refuse permission because of the harm it would cause to a listed building. He feels the plans also fail to comply with several of Babergh’s core strategy planning policies.

Simon Bryan, development director of Hopkins Homes, said: “Our plans will create 71 attractive new homes and make a significant contribution towards addressing local housing needs on land already identified as being a deliverable site.

“We have amended plans to increase the number of smaller two and three-bedroom homes and the number of bungalows in response to the area’s local housing needs. The development will also provide 25 affordable homes to be delivered through local housing associations.”

Residents have until April 25 to giveBabergh’ their views.