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‘Common sense has prevailed’ - Application for 150 homes in village refused

PUBLISHED: 11:45 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:12 12 December 2018

Campaigners from Long Melford outside of the Suffolk County Council offices Picture: NEIL PERRY

Campaigners from Long Melford outside of the Suffolk County Council offices Picture: NEIL PERRY

Archant

Campaigners fighting plans for 150 homes in Long Melford are celebrating after the application was rejected by councillors.

Babergh District Council’s planning committee unanimously voted to refuse the plans for homes on land off Station Road in the village at a hearing this morning.

The SOS (Save our Skylark Fields) campaign was launched earlier this year to oppose the application from developer Gladman.

The controversial development has faced much opposition from the community and the parish council, with residents citing infrastructure issues and lack of need.

Gladman lodged an appeal prior to the hearing on the grounds that Babergh went over the stated timeframe for the application.

Lisa Tipper, SOS chairman, outside the Suffolk County Council offices Picture: NEIL PERRYLisa Tipper, SOS chairman, outside the Suffolk County Council offices Picture: NEIL PERRY

This means the final decision will lie with the planning inspector next year.

The people of Long Melford turned out in their numbers to attend the hearing at Endeavour House, and a bus was put on to get campaigners from the village to Ipswich.

Lisa Tipper, chairman of the SOS campaign, said: “We’re really pleased that it was a unanimous decision from the council.

“A lot of councillors spoke up and agreed that it was the wrong place and wrong site.

“There is not the need in Melford, we have already taken our quota for the next however many years.

“Councillors also said it would be detrimental to build at that particular site east of the railway bridge because once you start accepting one, it opens it up for development all the way to the bypass.”

Mrs Tipper added that the SOS group will continue to fundraise to fight the further appeal.

Speaking following the decision, Richard Kemp, independent county councillor for Long Melford, said: “Common sense has prevailed.

“The application was quite rightly refused as it was not the correct site.

“I’m very pleased that the people of Long Melford showed their support and their care of Long Melford as a village.

“This development, if approved, would have led to further speculative applications.

“I would like to thank the Babergh District Council planning committee, for carefully considering all the comments made by the planning officers and the objectors and for making the right judgement on this application.”

In a joint statement, Mr Kemp and John Nunn, district and parish councillor for Long Melford, said: “We are pleased that Babergh District Council planning committee went along with their officers in rejecting this potentially damaging planning application for Long Melford.

“The site was never an area that would sit comfortably with Long Melford, so the right decision was made for the future of the village.”

Peter Beer, chairman of Babergh District Council’s planning committee, said: “This application has roused a lot of passion in Long Melford, and its pros and cons have featured heavily in the media over the last year, however when it came before the committee we had to take a view based in planning law.

“After long discussion, the committee concluded that the proposals failed to demonstrate how they met local need, failed to demonstrate how they would avoid impacting on protected species, and could cause significant harm to the countryside around Long Melford.

“We will inform the planning inspector that Babergh would have refused permission for this development, and ask that he takes that into account when making his decision.”

Gladman has been approached for comment.

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