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Long Melford: New homes should be quality not quantity – parish chairman

PUBLISHED: 14:10 26 May 2014

Archant

A proposal for 80 new homes on the outskirts of a picturesque west Suffolk village has been submitted to the district council.

Southsea Properties Ltd has applied for outline planning permission to build on land north of Ropers Lane on Rodbridge Hill, to the south of Long Melford.

The development would be made up of 12 one-bedroom apartments, 21 two-bed apartments, 20 three-bed and 27 four-bed houses and would include 35% affordable housing.

A public consultation has just opened and, so far, no objections have been received. Meanwhile, villagers who objected to a failed application for 51 homes on the former Fleetwood Caravans site in the centre of the village are awaiting the result of a public inquiry after the applicants, David Wilson Homes, appealed against Babergh District Council’s decision.

But parish council chairman Peter Turner said villagers are not “anti-development” and recognised the need for additional housing.

However, he said the parish council’s planning committee would be scrutinising plans for the 2.1acre site, known as the Old Coal Yard, at a meeting on June 17.

He said: “We will need to look carefully at the impact of the development on the immediate area and the wider village community.

“There’s a strong feeling in the parish that housing should be about quality rather then quantity and we want to make sure any development is sustainable in every sense of the word.

“There are enough examples of bog-standard housing around these days and as most of Long Melford’s buildings are historic or of a high architectural standard we need anything new to be in keeping with that. Apart from quality, it’s also about access to the development and we need to think about things like safe routes to school.”

Simon Barrett, Babergh’s lead member for economic development, has welcomed the application. He said: “It’s early days yet but 80 homes is a significant number and it would include 35% affordable housing, which is desperately needed.”

Consultation letters have been sent to 133 properties close to the site including The Drays, Theobalds Close and Rodbridge Hill.

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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.