Council pledges to fight appeal over woodland homes bid in Rushmere St Andrew

Anger over plans for new homes in Rushmere

Anger over plans for new homes in Rushmere - Credit: citizenside.com

Planners have pledged to “robustly defend” their decision to refuse housing proposed for a “commemorative woodland” in east Suffolk, rejecting criticisms they were “rolling over” to the developers.

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s planning committee unanimously rejected an application for 14 new homes at a site in Rushmere St Andrew in December, highlighting numerous policies it was in breach of.

The consortium of charities behind the plans has appealed the decision to the Planning Inspectorate, which will hear the case by written representation.

Save Our Rushmere’s Rural Identity, which opposed the plan because it would harm the rural character of the site at land adjacent to 155 The Street, has renewed its campaign.

However fears have been raised that the council was not taking the appeal seriously enough after it rejected suggestions to place a tree preservation order (TPO) on the site, which some campaigners felt would strengthen their case and feared the council would now “roll over” to the developers.

A Suffolk Coastal spokesman said the authority would “robustly defend” its decision.

He said: “The decision to reject the application was not taken lightly.

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“Whilst Suffolk Coastal District Council is fully committed to supporting the development of new homes and new jobs, our Local Plan also specifically safeguards our unique local environment.

“We welcome well thought-out, sympathetic development, not development at any price.

“A balance has to be found between the often competing need for new homes and the need to protect our environment. In this case, it was felt that this development did not achieve that balance.”

He said calls for a TPO had been “fully considered by our officers, but they concluded it would not be appropriate to serve one”.

As the TPO would be served between the planning rejection and appeal, if the appeal was allowed it would overrule the TPO.

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