Yoxford: Campaigners celebrate victory in long-running housing battle
07:01 17 July 2014
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Campaigners are celebrating victory in a long-fought housing battle after a planning inspector dismissed developer appeals to build on historic parkland in east Suffolk.
Inspector Tim Wood, delivering his decision on Tuesday, said Hopkins Homes’ 26-dwelling development at Old High Road in Yoxford posed ‘unacceptable effects (that) were not outweighed by any benefits’.
The appellants had argued that Suffolk Coastal District Council’s (SCDC) lack of a five-year housing supply meant there should be a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”. Although Mr Wood recognised “supply of homes is a concern” in Suffolk Coastal, he also found the development was in “significant conflict” with the local plan and “could not be considered as a sustainable form of development”.
SCDC’s planning chairman Geoff Holdcroft said he welcomed the decision, which “vindicates our stance that, while we acknowledge we do not currently have a five-year supply of housing, this does not mean that all development is acceptable”.
Hopkins Homes said it was “sorry” the appeal had been refused as it would have secured “much-needed new homes and employment for local people while helping to alleviate the housing shortage”.
Residents who gave evidence at the inquiry in opposition to the scheme have spoken of their relief. Tim Williams, who co-ordinated the public campaign, said he was “ecstatic” at the news and thanked everyone for their support.
Yoxford Cricket Club chairman Stephen Beaumont, who claimed the dangers of stray balls flying into the proposed development could have forced the club’s closure, said it was “excellent news”. “It may not be the end of things but for the time being we can breathe in peace and carry on playing the game we love on the ground that we love,” he added.
Yoxford Parish Council, which recommended the application’s refusal, also welcomed the dismissal.
Parish chairman Nigel Kerridge conceded that new houses were needed but said there were “more suitable places to build them”.
Councillor Pat Wallace added: “It’s good for the village, good for the cricket club, good for the bowls club – I’m over the moon.”