THE consultation process for the multi-million pound Chilton Woods development has been described as “flawed” because of confusion about where the homes are going to be built.
Waldingfield district councillor Jenny Antill says residents are being presented with “a muddle of competing schemes” which give different locations for the proposed 1,050 new homes as part of the £500million scheme.
Mrs Antill said: “This scheme is the most important change that will affect our area in the years to come. It is unfortunate, therefore, that the current situation can only be described as a complete mess.
“I have been up to my neck in this issue for several weeks and, despite this, I find the situation complex and hard to explain.”
She said in Babergh District Council’s current local plan for the area – adopted in 2006 – a site for 700 homes was designated to the north of Sudbury, mostly in Chilton.
However, the council has a new local plan, called the local development framework, which earmarks 800 houses in Sudbury, with 350 situated in Chilton Woods.
Meanwhile, she says a map prepared by Redrow Homes – the developer appointed by Suffolk County Council – shows the new development to the north extending over the Acton boundary and further out into open countryside.
Mrs Antill added: “The key debate is where these additional houses should be placed. Should they be accommodated by expanding the area of the existing land allocation to the north, or should they be placed on land to the west of Tesco adjacent to the main roads?
“We have two different maps of the site, prepared by two different bodies, with two different agendas and timescales.”
Redrow and Suffolk County Council have released details of the scheme, with the public consultation due to end next week. Babergh’s plan goes out for public consultation for six weeks from the beginning of June.
Mrs Antill added: “Why did Redrow not wait until the allocation of land under the Babergh core strategy was known before commencing its own consultation?
“Did Babergh encourage Redrow to plan to build to the north, but then at the eleventh hour, and due to public pressure, change its mind with regard to where additional land should be allocated?
“The people of Sudbury and beyond are being presented with a muddle of competing schemes. I would suggest that consultation undertaken against this background is pretty worthless.
“We should face the fact that the whole process is totally flawed.
A spokeswoman from Curtin & Co, a consultancy firm working on behalf of developer Redrow, said: “We will obviously ensure we are compliant with any decision that Babergh District Council makes regarding its core strategy.
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OUTSPOKEN: Jenny Antill has described the consultation process into the plans as flawed.