Developer withdraws plan for village homes after complaints

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Latest community news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Residents who would have seen their lives detrimentally affected by plans to build new homes on their doorsteps are celebrating after the plans were withdrawn.

After receiving a hostile reception to their development plans in Church Park in Stoke by Clare, Havebury Housing Partnership has opted to withdraw the plans for the site.

The social housing provider had proposed to build four houses on a plot of land at the rear of a house in Church Park – land used by Fred Cuthbert as a garden for 63 years.

Paul Edwards, director of resources at Havebury Housing, said: “We need to take some time to work through our proposals and consider other options for providing much-needed affordable homes in the area.

“We have therefore taken the decision to withdraw the plans from the application process and do not have any immediate intention to resubmit them.

“We will continue to work with residents and other agencies regarding the issues in the area while we decide on our next steps.”

The decision means 90-year-old Mr Cuthbert is able to continue using his garden until further notice.

“I think that is good news for me,” he said.

“They wanted to put two houses on the car park facing my kitchen window – that is what I do not want to see happen.

Mr Cuthbert has been cultivating the land since he moved into the house in Church Park with his late wife in 1951.

When he moved in, the land and house was council-owned, but he has since bought the property. He was informed in March that Havebury wanted to reclaim the land for development.

Last week, a neighbour of Mr Cuthbert, Nic Jarman, said many residents were opposed to the plans, and described the homes which would be constructed as “tomorrow’s slums today”.

“We understand there is a need for housing, but why put these disgusting boxes up, which would look more akin to Stalinist Russia, in this beautiful Suffolk village,” said Mr Jarman.

Karen Kennair, chairman of Stoke by Clare Parish Council, said she was pleased the current plans had been withdrawn.

“There were quite a number of residents concerned about the appropriateness of what was being proposed,” she said.

“But it is clear that this is a reprieve rather than a complete withdrawal.”

Mrs Kennair, from School Green, said many people felt the planning application had been rushed – evident by the housing provider referring to the creation of seven homes on the site in parts of its application, instead of the four it actually proposed.

“It seemed the plans were put together very quickly,” she said.

“If they decide to develop the land, I hope they will talk to the council first and discuss any proposals. It should be dealt with better next time.”