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Referendums Due on Neighbourhood Plans in Two Suffolk Villages

Carl Shave
Carl Shave
January 8, 2019
Stradbroke

Last month, Mid Suffolk District Council voted to allow two neighbourhood plans to go forward to a public referendum. Following several months of consultation, the plans developed by Debenham and Stradbroke parish councils assign areas of land for development, including suggested locations for housing, shops, commercial buildings and public amenities such as schools and health centres. The plans are intended to inform the district council’s planning committee on locations considered suitable for sustainable development, while preventing unsuitable developments from gaining approval.

The neighbourhood plan for Debenham outlines provisions for up to 316 new homes to be built in the period up to 2036, across three different local sites. The three sites include 4 hectares of agricultural land north of Ipswich Road, 1 hectare of land south of Low Road, and 2.5 hectares of land east of Aspall Road, opposite the existing primary school.

Stradbroke’s neighbourhood plan allocates five local sites for the development of a minimum of 219 new dwellings up until 2036. This includes land north of Laxfield Road, east of Farriers Close, south of New Street, South of Mill Lane, and at Grove Farm.

Previous plans for property development around Debenham have been particularly controversial, as we wrote about in a previous news update last June. Taylor Wimpey’s planned Debenham development met with protests from villagers, who raised complaints over the development’s size and location, as well as a raft of other issues including traffic congestion, parking and local infrastructure concerns. That particular development’s plan has since been refused by Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee on the basis that it would represent “unacceptable harm” to the area.

Quoted in the East Anglian Daily Times, Matthew Hicks, chairman of Mid Suffolk’s Development Control Committee, said: “While there were some real benefits from the proposed development, including increased early years care in the village and more affordable homes, ultimately the committee felt unable to grant planning permission.

“This decision was reached due to the unacceptable impact of the development on the highly valued views across the Deben Valley, recognised in Debenham’s emerging Neighbourhood Plan, and the disproportionate scale of this development in a small village.”

Speaking to the East Anglian Daily Times about the forthcoming referendums, Roy Barker, vice-chairman of Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee, said: “It gives us on the planning committee more understanding that we can listen to the local views and not be bullied by hungry developers to push these things forward. I am just waiting for the rest of the villages in Mid Suffolk to come forward [with their own plans] and I hope we will be talking about more over the next few months.”

No date has yet been set for the referendums to take place.

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