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Needham Market: Environment Agency and the Suffolk Preservation Society object to homes plan

06:00 05 March 2014

Residents in Needham Market are angry about new proposed development on Hill House Lane.

Residents in Needham Market are angry about new proposed development on Hill House Lane.

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The Environment Agency (EA) and a group which aims to preserve Suffolk’s heritage are opposing controversial proposals to build almost 40 homes.

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The Suffolk Preservation Society and the EA have given their views of the plans to construct 38 homes in Needham Market off Hill House Lane.

Last month a packed town council meeting heard residents’ fears about the plans, including how the “rural character” of the town could be affected by the development.

Andrew Hunter, a planning advisor for the EA, said that a flood risk assessment included within the proposal’s documents “did not” comply with national guidance.

He said the homes would lie in an area of “low flood probability” but as the development was more than one hectare (about two-and-a-half acres) in size a “significant” volume of surface water runoff could be created.

Phil Cobbold, planning consultant for the landowner behind the development, said it was an outline application which was only seeking to gain permission for the “principle of residential development”.

He said: “The applicant is considering all the correspondence that have been received and where necessary will be submitting further information to the council to address these issues.”

The EA said its objection would be overcome if the flood assessment were to comply with the national planning policy.

In a letter commenting on the plans, Fiona Cairns, director of the Suffolk Preservation Society, said: “In summary the society considers that the development of this greenfield site, which is outside the settlement boundary and in a sensitive landscape, would be contrary to local policy.

“The application is therefore unacceptable on those grounds, and should be resisted.”

Julie Abbey-Taylor, corporate manager for strategic housing at Mid Suffolk District Council, has concerns over parking congestion, if the plans go ahead.

“Parking is already a problem in Anderson Close – the affordable housing being exclusively off this road will only add to the parking congestion,” she said.

A Facebook group called “Friends of Needham Market Countryside”, which objects to the development, had hundreds of members join within a matter of weeks.

The landowner, Peter Haylock, said in the town council meeting that the development would provide “much needed affordable” housing.

He said any profit coming from the sale of the land would go to charity. He added that more than £420,000 would come from the development in developer’s fees.

The planning application has been sent to Mid Suffolk.

It is due to make a decision by March 28.

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  • How many people are watching the most enlightening series on BBC 2 each evening "Permission impossible" about planning applications and how they are dealt with. Shows both sides of the process of applying for and objecting to applications and why they fail.

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