Community’s ‘incomprehension’ at approval of 34 new homes at Crows Nursery site in Ufford

Suffolk Coastal District Council's Chambers in Melton Hill

Suffolk Coastal District Council's Chambers in Melton Hill - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Community leaders have expressed disappointment at the approval of housing in an east Suffolk village, claiming there is “not a shred of evidence” for its need.

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s north area development committee approved two applications on Monday for a total of 34 new homes on the Crown Nursery site in Ufford, near Woodbridge.

The committee had been advised to recommend the applications because of the council’s failure to meet a key housing target, which meant there was a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”.

Leslie Short, of Artisan Planning & Property Service, also highlighted the council’s failure to demonstrate the key target – a five-year deliverable land supply.

He added that the development would provide “high quality of homes, of different sizes, types and tenures”, including 10 affordable homes.

However, Michael Bond, who represents Ufford on the district council, said that without the five-year land supply argument, the applications “would have stood no chance” as they fell outside of village boundaries.

“I do not think it right that two estates should be built in Ufford on the basis of a narrow technicality of this sort,” he added, Mr Bond went on to say there “was not a shred of evidence” that the housing was needed and suggested it would have an “undesirable effect” on traffic in the surrounding area.

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“None of this has been thought through, as is so often the case,” he added.

“These estate houses might well be extremely nice. They could fit in well with needs in other parts of the country. But not here. Not in Ufford.

“They would solve no problems at all, only add to them.

“I recommend that the applications be rejected.

“Let us fight it out through the appeals if we have to.”

Parish vice-chairman Jane Hawthorne also spoke against the application, referring to the lack of services, such as schools or shops, which she said were necessary to justify new housing.

Further objections were raised by Bob Bradley, of the Roads Action Group, who highlighted concerns on the local road network.

He said a total of 296 new homes had been proposed for the area, which would have an “immense” effect on vehicle activity and referred to a serious recent accident on the B1438 as evidence of the existing problem.

However, the committee narrowly approved the application after an even split vote was decided by the chairman.

Mrs Hawthorne, speaking after the meeting, said she was “very disappointed”.

“People in the village are concerned because we actually thought this site had been labelled as unsuitable,” she said.

“There’s a sense of incomprehension that this could have happened and a lot of disappointment.

“We could have accepted small in-filling developments but 34 new homes is quite a big estate.

“Our concern now is that because the committee has let this one through there’s going to others coming forward.”