Plans for 166 homes and a care home on land earmarked for employment uses in Chilton, near Sudbury, have been recommended to be refused planning permission.

The location of the site, the question over the need for the project and the "considerable level of harm" to heritage assets have all been cited as reasons for the scheme to be turned down.

Caverswall Enterprises Ltd and West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's plans cover an area of over 28 acres on the north side of Church Field Road, Chilton Industrial Estate.

A planning statement for the project - prepared by Vincent & Gorbing - argues that the application "continues to propose a high quality, low density, residential development with a care home on land that is already identified within the adopted Local Plan as being suitable for development through its allocation for employment.

"The site forms a logical urban extension to the existing town of Sudbury, and it would make a significant contribution to the housing needs of Sudbury in a highly sustainable location.

"The proposal would bring about sustainable development in social, environmental and economic terms."

Planning documents indicate the 60-bed care home would create "50 full-time equivalent jobs".

However, the planning officers' report for the project - which recommends the committee refuse planning consent - says the proposal for residential development in the countryside is contrary to policy, the application is not exceptional and there is no proven justifiable need for the development proposed.

It adds: "The application proposes the development of land safeguarded for employment purposes, where no sustained marketing campaign has been undertaken at a realistic asking price, and where the applicant has failed to demonstrate that the land is inherently unsuitable or not viable for all forms of employment-related use.

"The proposed development would lead to a considerable level of harm to the significance of the designated heritage assets at Chilton Hall (comprising Grade II* Chilton Hall, Grade II Garden Wall to East of Chilton Hall, and Grade II Chilton Hall registered park and garden) and a level of harm to the significance of the Grade I Church of St Mary that would be not far short of substantial."