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Lakenheath: No new homes until primary school is sorted, says Suffolk County Council

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 July 2014

Lakenheath Village sign

Lakenheath Village sign

Archant

A village facing more than 1,000 new homes has been handed a reprieve after Suffolk County Council ruled that no applications can be approved until a new primary school has been sorted.

The county council has issued the holding objection to Forest Heath District Council over four major applications in Lakenheath, which add up to 1,038 homes.

Lakenheath Parish Council has yet to formally voice comments on any of the four applications – despite two of them being lodged more than a year ago – and agreed to hold back on any comment until it has received professional advice at an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday.

Parish council chairman David Gathercole told his fellow councillors: “Given the importance of these planning applications and others that may be in the pipeline, all of which will have serious ramifications on this village for possibly the next 100 years, we have a duty to act accordingly and responsibly.

“Your comments could have far-reaching consequences and without guidance, you may well shoot yourselves in the foot, and more importantly make the wrong decisions for this village.

“With the best will in the world, we are out of our depth on this one. Strong, robust, relevant points are needed, and for that reason I am proposing from the chair that tonight you defer reviewing and discussing these applications until you have obtained professional guidance.”

The parish council had taken the extraordinary step of threatening Forest Heath with a judicial review just hours before one of the plans – for 67 homes off Briscoe Way – was due to be determined by Forest Heath’s planning committee.

As well as these four applications, Necton Management held an exhibition in the village recently outlining plans for 145 new homes in Broom Road.

A county council spokesman said the emerging strategy was to build a new primary school paid for by developers.

He added: “With further planned housing growth in Lakenheath over the plan period to 2031, the only sensible outcome will be to provide a second new 315-place primary school.

“In view of the above issues we consider that it is critical to fully consult with the existing primary school and the local community before any decisions are made.”

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EADT writer David Vincent has more than 40 years experience in Suffolk. He has explored the highways and byeways of East Anglia, meeting homeowners, developers and estate agents from Bury St Edmunds to Aldeburgh and Colchester to Diss.