Village homes plan resembled a ‘prison’

BAD PLAN: Mark Newman, parish councillor for Great Cornard, on the site.
BAD PLAN: Mark Newman, parish councillor for Great Cornard, on the site.

Plans for 170 homes have been emphatically refused after claims that parts of the development looked like a “prison block”.

A long list of objections, ranging from poor design to the adverse impact on the surrounding countryside, resulted in Babergh District Council throwing out proposals for land east of Carsons Drive in Great Cornard yesterday.

Case officer Graham Chamberlain said the proposals put forward by Persimmon Homes did not do enough to lessen the impact on the nearby Grade I-listed Abbas Hall or the landscape associated with two famous paintings by Thomas Gainsborough.

“The impact on Abbas Hall is a key concern of English Heritage and our heritage team,” said Mr Chamberlain.

“I don’t think significant regard has been given to the approach and it is not designed with rural character in mind.”

Mr Chamberlain said an independent planning review had stated the scheme was set out poorly and exhibited “no signs of quality”. It had a disjointed street scene and a reliance on a woodland planting area – the benefits of which would not be seen for 60 years.

Speaking on behalf of Cornard Tye Residents’ Association, Jeremy Hyam said he believed the plans, which would have created 60 affordable homes, were unacceptable.

“The development is inappropriate in scale, form, design and finish,” he said.

“It is a sensitive site, which requires a careful approach and this has not been carried out. It would irreversibly sever the listed building from its natural and historical surroundings.”

Ray Ricks, planning consultant for Persimmon Homes, claimed the council’s report lacked balance.

“It is a question of weighing up the public benefits,” he said. “The scheme complements the allocation in the local plan to provide 170 homes.”

Mr Ricks also defended the appearance of the homes, claiming design was a “subjective matter.”

Mark Newman, county and parish councillor for Great Cornard, said Sheepshead Hill would not cope with the increase in traffic the plans would bring, while schools, dentists and doctors were alreadyclose to capacity.

“I have lived in Cornard all my life and seen many changes, but this would be the worst,” said the 54-year-old.

Peter Beer, development committee chairman, agreed. “One area on the plans looked like a prison block,” he said.

“It really looked awful. If experts consider this to be good design, they are on another planet.”