Yoxford: Opponents outline their fears over proposed development at inquiry
07:45 13 February 2014
Public opponents to a contentious east Suffolk housing application made impassioned arguments for the development’s refusal over a two-day planning inquiry.
Tim Wood, the planning inspector presiding over Hopkins Homes’ Yoxford housing appeal, heard evidence from six residents of the village, each highlighting grounds to oppose the application.
Yoxford Cricket Club’s chairman Stephen Beaumont raised concerns about the proximity of the 26-dwelling development to the ground’s boundary, which he feared would “irritate” homeowners. He said their properties could be struck with up to 100 cricket balls a year. “As a community asset, we should be protected, not sacrificed on the alter of property speculation,” he added.
Tim Williams, co-ordinator of the public opposition, focused on the development’s intrusion into historic parkland, which had earned Yoxford its title as the Garden of Suffolk.
With “vociferous” opposition from residents, councillors and organisations, Mr Williams also called into question the spirit of localism posed by the “spectre” of a national body overruling local representatives.
Barry Slater, Yoxford’s district councillor, insisted he was “one of the loudest voices” in favour of rural development. But with Hopkins Homes’ proposals to develop off Old High Road falling outside the village envelope, he said it was “unacceptable” and raised possibilities for “extensive development” nearby.
A detailed summary of the new housing delivered in Yoxford set against the district’s overall obligation was offered by David Holland as evidence the village had already contributed its fair share.
Sir Paul Newall, who lives at Grove Park in the village, suggested the developer was using the appeal “as a form of entryism” for further developments. “It is, in effect, a sprat to catch a mackerel,” he said.
Further concerns were raised about the nature of the housing by John Walford, who submitted a statement condemning the lack of “technological developments”.
Hopkins Homes argued that the benefits of its proposal far outweighed the adverse effects.
The appeal closed yesterday in Woodbridge, to resume on June 11.