Homes given go-ahead despite fears they are ‘too high’
- Credit: JAMES FREWIN
Controversial plans for a six home development in Bures have been partly-approved by councillors.
Villagers have been fighting the development in Cuckoo Hill since October 2017 after a row over the height of the new homes.
Babergh District Council (BDC) has now approved plans for four of the six houses by developers The Stemar Group on the site of a former slaughterhouse.
The remaining two have already been ruled in breach of planning rules and could yet end up being demolished.
Campaigners, who protested outside the meeting at Endeavour House in Ipswich, are now considering their next move, but Clare Frewin, whose Grade II-listed house is overlooked by the development, said the committee's decision made "a mockery" of the planning system.
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Carole Walters, who lives in Byron House next door to the development, said villagers were furious that the council had not taken their quality of life into account.
"The quality of our homes and lives have been damaged. All we're looking at from our homes now is windows and roofs, it's heartbreaking," she said.
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Her partner, Andy Dodman, added: "We are unbelievably disaappointed, we feel completely let down by the planning officers."
In a further blow to villagers, an online petition of more than 400 signatures opposing the scheme was rejected by the committee because only 20 signatories had provided full addresses. Most had only provided postcodes.
A seperate petion also recorded they had no faith in the council's planning officers.
Peter Beer, chairman of Babergh District Council's planning committee, said after the meeting: "While the committee felt the development as built deviated in a number of ways from the original permission issued, we are required to make a decision based on planning considerations.
"As a result, after much deliberation and debate on the planning merits, members felt it necessary to grant permission for these applications for plots one to four.
"Meanwhile the committee was assured that Babergh officers will be moving swiftly towards issuing a formal Enforcement Notice requiring demolition of plots five and six, which previous committees have found clearly in breach of their planning permissions."
Babergh District Council had previously upheld complaints about the height of the new houses.
An independent survey commissioned by villagers found a height difference of 2.6metres (8.5ft) from the original plans.
The developer then submitted a retrospective planning application for the whole site.
This application was unanimously refused by Babergh's planning committee in July last year.
The developers had also lodged an appeal against the council's refusal to grant permission for all six houses at the site last year.
This is now due to be heard by a public inquiry in November.