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Designs for 240 Elmswell homes like ‘Cell Block H’, says councillor

PUBLISHED: 17:28 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:28 01 August 2018

Land off wetherden Road in Elsmwell, which is set to be developed Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Land off wetherden Road in Elsmwell, which is set to be developed Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

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Plans to build 240 homes in Elmswell have been deferred after the designs of the homes were likened to “Cell Block H” and “fit for Luton”.

Outline planning permission to build 240 homes off Wetherden Road were approved in March this year, with the next phase of the plans relating to the design, layout, landscaping and scale going before Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee earlier today.

Committee members acknowledged there was a need for new homes, but criticised the designs as being “bland”, dubbing the designs as akin to homes built in the 1960s.

Ward councillor Sarah Mansel, in a written representation to the committee, said the decision to grant outline planning permission had been unpopular.

“What we have been presented with here is a suburban housing estate which has no place in our community,” she said.

“It might fit in Luton but not in Elmswell.”

She added: “They say it’s ‘60s design – surely we can do better than this a good 50 years later?”

The design concerns were shared by members of the committee, with Diana Kearsley stating: “It reminds one of Cell Block H – I think it is appalling.

“We know they are going to develop, they have permission for that, but please can we come back with something more sensible?”

John Matthissen added that “the district deserves something better than this”.

As well as the design, issues were also raised with the layout of the roads.

In its response, Suffolk County Council Highways disagreed with tandem parking – one car behind the other – as it would reduce the uptake of spaces, and the straight roads went against the Suffolk design guide, which could cause more issues with on-road parking and speeding vehicles.

Despite the concerns, Suffolk Highways did not object to the application.

The committee voted in favour to defer the plans, calling on the developers to come back with better designs for the homes and an improved layout.

Mr Matthissen added: “I hope the applicant has heard very clearly from several members [of the committee] what we are unhappy about.”

A spokeswoman from developers Crest Nicholson said: “Naturally we are disappointed that Mid Suffolk District Council has decided to defer its decision on our proposed development in Elmswell due to the provision of tandem parking spaces and the extent of straight roads.

“This decision goes against the advice of officers and statutory consultees involved in the process.

“Tandem parking spaces are acceptable in planning policy terms, while the straight roads proposed are tree-lined, contain traffic calming measures, and would allow greater pedestrian accessibility to a substantial new community park for local residents.

“We are currently considering our next steps.”

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