Melton: Opponents to Yarmouth Road housing plans highlight concerns
12:46 25 June 2014
Opponents of an east Suffolk housing development are preparing for a hard-fought battle to the bitter end.
Melton Parish Council’s planning committee warned dozens of villagers at Monday’s meeting that it would face major challenges opposing the latest housing proposal in the village – despite it falling outside permitted boundaries for development.
Planning chairman Geof Butterwick said Suffolk Coastal District Council’s lack of a five-year housing land supply had left a “loophole through which every developer was clambering”. He said: “If a council doesn’t have a five- year supply of housing the developer can do what they like.”
Although the proposals for up to 156 dwellings, a 60-bed nursing home and 50 assisted living flats at Yarmouth Road falls outside the settlement boundary for permitted development, Mr Butterwick said he was confident any refusal would be appealed. “We will just have to pray the planning inspector makes the right decision,” he said.
Despite the challenges, Mr Butterwick felt problems with traffic congestion and the development’s lack of sustainability could offer legitimate grounds to refuse.
Residents attending the meeting also highlighted concerns about the development’s impact on the village. They had been expecting to learn more about the proposal from planning consultant Richard Brown, but were left disappointed by his absence.
Mr Brown told the parish council in advance that he would be postponing his attendance while he made changes to the plans based on feedback from a public exhibition held earlier this month.
Speaking after the meeting, he said: “I can fully understand why certain villagers may be frustrated by the development falling outside the settlement boundaries but within Suffolk Coastal there’s also a pressing need to provide open market housing and until the local plan gets updated this is how the planning will be dealt with.”