64 new homes to be built in small village
PUBLISHED: 17:29 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:29 17 June 2020
Revised plans to develop land on the edge of Boxford have been agreed despite public opposition – and work could begin within the next 18 months.
Catesby Development Land Ltd had proposals to develop agricultural land east of Sand Hill into 80 homes refused in September last year, but revised proposals for 64 homes were given the green light by Babergh District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday morning.
The previous refusal was because of concerns that children living in the development would need buses to get to school as there was a shortage of places nearby, as well as fears over the negative impact on existing roads and pathways.
MORE: Village celebrates after 80 homes refused in Boxford
Revised plans for outline planning permission were approved by seven votes to three.
Ed Barrett, planning manager at Catesby, said: “Following last year’s refusal for our original proposals, we did not rush to appeal and instead we listened to your concerns and have revised our plans to address your reasons for refusal.
“The number of homes has been reduced by 20% and land for the development of a community building is now incorporated.
“Levels of open space and landscaping have been increased, now comprising 55% of the overall site area.”
Mr Barrett said the development included smaller properties for first-time buyers and downsizers, and carbon reduction measures such as solar panels.
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He added: “We have acted on concerns, driving us to improve our proposals which will ensure the delivery of a high quality, sensitively-designed development which will be reflective of the character of the village.”
The plans include £107,000 contribution to school transport, as well as £675,000 contribution for other infrastructure and community improvements.
The developers must return to planners with detailed proposals before work can begin, but the company said it traditionally begins work within 12-18 months of outline permission being secured, with an estimated completion of the whole site within two years of spades going in the ground.
But the proposals had attracted a swathe of opposition, including 35 objections from members of the public, a petition of 96 signatures against the plans, and comments by ward councillor Bryn Hurren, the parish council and Boxford Society.
Roger Loose from Boxford Parish Council said it was “substantially the same as the one previously rejected” and referenced a village survey in February 2019 where 58% of respondents said they did not want that land developed.
According to Mr Loose, work on a neighbourhood plan which has been started has allocated nine sites elsewhere in the village suitable for development, and said it was also not in the joint local plan by Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils.
Andrew Good from the Boxford Society said it would “introduce an open development in a rural location”.
Another concern raised included the level of additional traffic it would bring into the village, which already struggled with narrow roads and lack of parking.
Mr Hurren added: “I have some serious concerns about the schools and location, and I think it can be said that pretty much every child that lived in this new allocation site would have to be bussed [to school] with all the environmental issues that brings.”
Planning committee chairman Peter Beer said there had been “a lot of work on this” while councillor David Busby, who had reservations about the site not being allocated in any emerging plan and the lack of support from the village, said Catesby had “taken on board a lot of problems with the first one and created quite a nice development”.
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