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Campaigners look at fighting homes plan

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Latest community news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Campaigners say permission to build on a village greenfield site could set a precedent - with homes approved on district rather than local housing needs.

Jocelyn Targett, chairman of Keep Bildeston Beautiful, said the group was frustrated and disappointed that councillors gave the go-ahead to allow 48 new homes to be built on greenfield land east of Artiss Close and Rotheram Road.

He said the council argued that the greenfield site was right next to the village and not open countryside.

“On that basis, greenfield sites could be endlessly developed. We are not going to solve our urban housing problem by building on a field in Bildeston,” he added.

In a planning report, Mr Targett said the council said ‘local’ housing need referred not to the village’s housing needs but to the entire Babergh district.

“I think this is going to set a precedent for building in villages all over the district. It seems there is no guarantee that a development will be for local needs,” he said.

A previous application for 49 homes on the same site was turned down by Babergh councillors last year on the grounds that there was no justifiable need for homes to be built on agricultural land in the absence of a housing survey.

But last week councillors voted 11 to three in favour of outline planning permission for 48 homes which include affordable, shared ownership and private market housing.

Mr Targett, who is also chairman of the pro-development group Planet Bildeston - involved in the Neighbourhood Plan to have more say over where homes in the village will go in future - said a brownfield site had already been identified for further development in Bildeston, with the village growing in size by more than 10 per cent in the last 10 years. According to local and planning regulations, the council was duty-bound to consider this site over any greenfield site, he said.

Mr Targett said the community would be considering options to fight the decision, possibly considering a judicial review.

“We are very disappointed with the outcome and we see no justification for the decision. We will be meeting to discuss this outcome, and to see where we go from here.”

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