Repeated calls for talks have been ignored, claim protesters

IT'S GOOD TO TALK: Edward Ward claims repeated calls for talks with developer Sandhurst Newhomes have fallen on deaf ears.
IT'S GOOD TO TALK: Edward Ward claims repeated calls for talks with developer Sandhurst Newhomes have fallen on deaf ears.

Opponents to a proposed Sudbury housing development claim the firm behind it has done little to improve previous plans.

They claim plans – refused three years ago – have barely changed, with the developer refusing to co-operate or listen to concerns.

The former industrial units, near to Bulmer Road, have been unused since they were bought by Sandhurst Newhomes, which wants to build 43 homes on the site.

In 2011, an application for 43 homes and four commercial units was refused by Babergh District Council’s planning committee on the grounds that the site was allocated as one of general employment.

In order to be able to build on the land, Sandhurst Newhomes had to demonstrate that the site was inherently unsuitable for all forms of employment.

Edward Ward, of the Sandy Lane Area Action Group, said this had not happened.

“We feel there is a demand for small business ventures,” he said.

“The developer says it has marketed the site, but it was only carried out for short periods and without real effort.”

Opponents criticised the original plans for the density of housing and, while the number of homes has been retained in the latest scheme, the commercial units have been removed from the application.

Mr Ward said he felt if the density of housing was reduced, many of the other issues, like access and an increase in traffic, could be solved. He claimed he had been attempting to work with the developer but without success.

“We have always said we are not against the development – we just want it to be sustainable in the long-term,” he said.

“We have been asking to speak to the developer for the last year in a bid to look at the aspects we think would help the area, but they have been completely against that.”

He added: “I would support them if they would just take account of the local issues.”

Case officer John Davies has recommended the application for approval under the provision of six affordable homes, public open space, a play facility and an extension to on-street parking restrictions.

A spokesman for Sandhurst Newhomes admitted the plans were similar to the original application but said: “A number of changes have been made and planning policies have now been complied with.”

The spokesman added that its marketing campaign for the site had been carried out in line with the district council’s requirements.