‘Melford homes plan should be refused’ - officer

Long Melford Bull Lane development.
Councillors John Watts chair of planning Long Melford PC, John Nunn parish and district councillor and Richard Kemp Parish district and county councillor
Picture Mark Westley ANL-160823-225149009
Long Melford Bull Lane development. Councillors John Watts chair of planning Long Melford PC, John Nunn parish and district councillor and Richard Kemp Parish district and county councillor Picture Mark Westley ANL-160823-225149009

A planning application to build 71 new homes in Long Melford which has received nearly 200 objections from residents has been recommended for refusal.

On Wednesday Babergh District Council’s planning committee will decide whether to accept or refuse the proposal by Hopkins Homes for the homes in Bull Lane.

Objections have been received over several months and include concerns on over development, damage to tourism, potential flooding problems, road safety and overloading of local facilities such as the school and doctors’ surgery.

The proposal is due to be decided by Babergh’s planning committee on Wednesday.

The council’s heritage team has said the scheme should be refused as it is harmful to the setting of heritage assets, with concerns also raised by The National Trust and Suffolk Preservation Society.

Babergh’s planning department has recommended the application for refusal. In her report case officer Gemma Pannell said the development would embed a currently isolated group of properties in a new suburban extension to the village. This includes 24 Bull Lane, described as a heritage asset.

She added the development would therefore disrupt the “tranquil, open and rural setting of the asset”, adding that it would likely completely sever 24 Bull Lane from its existing rural context.

“Whilst the development of the site would contribute to housing need and provide for localised benefits, on balance it is not considered that the public benefits outweigh the harm to the heritage asset.”

Simon Bryan, development director of Hopkins Homes, said: “We are disappointed with the planning officer’s recommendations based solely on the impact, which they described as being ‘less than substantial’, on 24 Bull Lane.

“We are, however, pleased that our measures to address residents’ previous concerns around flooding and traffic have been deemed as suitable by the planning officials.

“Our plans, which will create 71 attractive new homes, including 25 affordable properties and a substantial number of smaller homes, will make a significant contribution towards addressing local housing needs on land identified as being a ‘deliverable site’ by Babergh.”

Richard Kemp, a parish, district and county councillor for the village said: “The proposals fail to comply with Babergh’s own adopted planning policies and the planning committee should throw the proposal out as obviously unacceptable. 
“The developer says the public benefits of the scheme include Babergh collecting £640,000 in New Homes Bonus and Long Melford Parish Council getting around £97,000. These should not be taken into account and are certainly not enough to justify spoiling Long Melford in the way that is proposed.”

Graham Eade, chairman of the parish council, added: “Hopkins Homes refused an invitation to a public meeting in August and to consult with us since. This is a huge contrast with other developers who have asked to present their plans to us before moving ahead.”