Villagers’ fears resurface after plans backed

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A parish council has backed plans for a large-scale housing development in Boxford – despite mounting public opposition.

Boxford Parish Council pledged to support developer Iceni Homes after it submitted a second application to build 25 homes on a site on Sand Hill.

Last week’s meeting, which was attended by around 50 members of the public, became heated as councillors went against concerns voiced by residents.

Sue Beven, who set up the Your Boxford website to collate objections to issues like Sand Hill, said the council had failed to listen to the group’s objections.

“Where is the democratic process?” she said.

“Boxford is not the only village that finds itself trying to balance the need for new housing against its size and available services.

“Parish and district councils, however, need to engage with their communities more effectively.”

She said the group understood the need for affordable housing but claimed the developer had skirted the issues raised in the original consultation.

Residents are concerned about the increased likelihood of flooding due to the water course from the site passing through the centre of the village.

They are also worried about increased traffic and a lack of safe pedestrian access to the development.

Mrs Beven said the site was unsuitable for the elderly and young families.

“We have a huge extra number of houses that have been built in the village,” she said.

“There is a road that goes out to the rest of the field which is there presumably for another development.”

Iceni withdrew its first application for the site after objections from the Suffolk Design Review Panel.

The new application contains the original proposal to build 20 affordable homes and five others.

The parish council backed the plans, with some suggestions to Babergh District Council including building a bus stop for a route to Hadleigh or Ipswich, to close the remaining access to the field and for regular monitoring of the drainage systems.

Chairman Michael Norman said the council had listened to both sides of the argument.

“We ensured the new plans were shared with the village at the earliest opportunity and felt considerable improvement had been made as a result of feedback,” he said.

“We had before us a viable and improved scheme to help meet the housing need of Boxford people and voted unanimously to support it.”

A spokeswoman for Iceni Homes said: “We are pleased that the parish council is supporting this scheme for much-needed affordable housing in Boxford.”