Controversial homes in Bures St Mary granted planning permission one year after previous application refused
A controversial housing development in Bures St Mary has won planning approval – a little over a year after the previous application for the site was unanimously rejected.
Babergh District Council’s planning committee voted earlier today to green-light three retrospective applications on four out of the six homes built on the old slaughterhouse site in Cuckoo Hill, despite the objections of residents and the village’s parish council.
The committee was divided, with six members in favour and five voting against the plans.
It is the third time the council has considered this development, initially approving six properties in 2015, then refusing revised plans last year, after homes were found to have breached the conditions of the first application.
But despite petitions and a large community campaign, due to fears about harm from these buildings on neighbouring properties and the local conservation area, the committee followed the approval recommendation of its officers, who stated the impacts are not so significant as to make the development unacceptable.
Cllr Peter Beer, committee chairman, said: “While the committee felt the development as built deviated in a number of ways from the original permission, we are required to make a decision based on planning considerations.
“As a result, after much deliberation and debate on the planning merits, members felt it necessary to grant permission for these applications for plots 1 to 4.
“Meanwhile, the committee was assured that Babergh officers will be moving swiftly towards issuing a formal enforcement notice, requiring demolition of plots 5 and 6, which previous committees have found clearly in breach of their planning permissions.”
But at today's meeting, Bures St Mary Parish Council chairman Gill Jackson argued there were too many issues relating to the whole site for a decision to be made on individual plots.
Meanwhile, Clare Frewin, a resident of White Horse House, said her family and neighbours are being totally overlooked and their skyline dominated by the height and close proximity of the development.
Following the meeting, Mrs Frewin told the Free Press the decision "makes a mockery of the planning system."
She said: "Babergh District Council have approved retrospective planning permission for a breach of 2.6 metres from the original approval.
"This level of tolerance isn’t shown to an individual. Why can a developer get away with it?
"I would also like to add how incredibly disappointed and let down by Cllr Lee Parker we are. As the previous ward member for Bures, he knows the case and local concern well, and yet chose to vote in favour of all three applications."