Opponents of plans for a large housing development on a site running across county borders say they will continue to fight the scheme, after Babergh District Council recommended it be given the green light.
The council’s planning committee voted to recommend an outline application to construct 122 homes at Stafford Park in Liston for approval – although the final outcome of the proposal will be determined by Braintree District Council.
The plans have proved controversial with residents of Liston, a village which currently has under 100 houses, and have been opposed by parish councils in Foxearth and Liston, Long Melford, Glemsford and Pentlow.
But Babergh planners recommended that Braintree give the plans the go-ahead, providing conditions are set to mitigate any impact on education, health, roads and the decontamination of the site, which was the former base of Bush Boake Allen industrial plant.
“The proposal would result in the reuse of brownfield land, on a site that has been mostly vacant for some time,” the report concluded.
“It is, however, in an isolated position where there are concerns with regards to the accessibility of the site and its connectivity to local facilities and services.
“The proposal would seek to bring about the comprehensive redevelopment of the site, and generate significant environmental improvements through the decontamination of the factory site and the adjacent landfill.
“There would be a positive benefit from employment generated by the construction of the development and the viability of facilities and services in the locality. To this end, the proposal also brings about economic benefits.”
However, the Liston Residents’ Association, a group formed in opposition to the application, states that Braintree’s local plan had previously designated the site as unsustainable and not suitable for housing, because of its inaccessibility and flood risk, due to its proximity to the River Stour.
The residents’ association claims the application “grossly understates the negative impacts of the proposals and grossly overstates any potential benefits”.
Group member George Kasabov told the Free Press: “We are all fed up with it. The more we thought about it, the more the consequences became clear.
“I’m all for houses if they are built in the right place, but they can’t just go anywhere.
“To actually put 122 homes here is completely bonkers. It’s unsustainable. It’s too far away from any services and it has terrible access.
“Right now, the hamlet of Liston has 21 houses and 40-odd people. This would completely overwhelm the village.”
Mr Kasabov also disputed the notion that the development would be necessary to clean up the landfill contamination and said he believes planning authorities are feeling pressured to approve the development because of this.
He argues that, in law, the costs of decontamination should be the responsibility of the original polluter, if the current site owner cannot pay.
To view the application, go to publicaccess.braintree.gov.uk/online-applications and search for application number 15/00565/OUT.