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Westleton: Village’s ‘scenic heart’ preserved

18:33 28 July 2014

Mike Page Aerials

Westleton 2009

Mike Page Aerials Westleton 2009

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Housing proposals for the “scenic heart of a scenic village” in east Suffolk have been rejected after meeting opposition.

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Councillors and residents in Westleton, near Leiston, made impassioned pleas against the application to build a single storey dwelling overlooking a much-loved pond in the village.

Westleton’s parish chairman, Arlette Smith, told Suffolk Coastal District Council’s north area planning committee meeting the pond was the highlight of a “very special village”, which would be “ruined” by the development.

Meanwhile, resident Peter Hecker said he knew of no one in the village, other than the applicant, who supported the scheme.“It would destroy the tranquil ambience of the village,” he added.

The application was submitted by John Felton-Whitcher, the owner of Westleton House, which is next to the proposed site, and had itself been converted into two homes. He said the proposal would improve the site where there is currently a garage.

Westleton’s district councillor Barry Slater said that while villagers were “realistic” about Mr Felton-Whitcher’s previous plans, they were “not prepared to go along with this attempt to shoehorn in a third dwelling in a very small site – especially here in the very heart of the village”.

Committee members agreed unanimously with the local representatives and rejected the application.

Michael Gower said the development would “massively increase pressure on a very special location”, which committee chairman Debbie McCallum described as the “scenic heart of a scenic village”.

The project architect Bob Davis, speaking after the meeting, said they would be appealing. “At the moment there’s a very ugly garage, as admitted by the council, but they just don’t want to see any change,” he said.

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