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Draft Local Plan sets out ambitions for future housing and retail developments across Babergh

Sudbury town centre. PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (12644096)
Sudbury town centre. PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (12644096)

Details of long-term ambitions for new retail developments in Babergh’s main market towns, plus thousands of additional homes across the district, have been set out, ahead of a meeting to consider the strategy for public consultation.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s draft joint local plan, which outlines a proposed roadmap for development in the two districts up to the year 2036, will go before the two councils next week, to seek initial approval from members.

If given the green light, it will be subject to a wider public consultation between July and September, during which time residents, local businesses and stakeholders will be asked to submit their views.

The draft document includes a target for 7,560 new homes to be constructed in Babergh between 2018 and 2036 – meaning an average of 420 properties being built each year during this period, in accordance with Government guidance.

There would also be a requirement for 35 per cent of the new homes – in planning applications for proposed developments of 10 or more properties – to be affordable housing.

In addition, the council has set out an aspiration for “new retail and town centre uses” in Sudbury and Hadleigh, both of which have been categorised as “strategically important retail centres”.

Clive Arthey, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for planning, said: “Development is something that comes up time and again when talking with our residents.

“We must have a strategic approach to how we’re going to provide the housing and the jobs needed in Babergh, and the joint local plan provides just that.

“Now we’re ready to put it to the public and, next week, I’ll be asking my fellow councillors to approve this plan for consultation.

“It’s about nothing less than the future of Babergh, and I’m looking forward to having the real conversations about what it means for us.”

The preferred options plan also specifies that all of these developments must follow an approach that factors in the long-term ramifications of climate change, including flood risk, water supply and biodiversity.

The document was produced by the two authorities, following a period of gathering evidence in 2016, and a preliminary consultation in autumn 2017, which saw around 1,300 people submit more than 14,000 comments.

The Babergh District Council meeting to consider the joint local plan will take place on Tuesday, commencing at 5.30pm.

The meeting will be live-streamed online as part of a new initiative to make the authority more accessible. To watch the meeting, search for Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council on YouTube.

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