Debenham: Village looks to create formal planning vision as it is “vulnerable” to development

Debenham would be "vulnerable" to developments if it does not create a Neighbourhood Plan

Debenham would be "vulnerable" to developments if it does not create a Neighbourhood Plan - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2013

A village has been told it would be “vulnerable” to development unless it creates a formal planning vision.

Mid Suffolk and Babergh’s Jonathan Free gave a presentation to Debenham Parish Council about the merits of establishing a Neighbourhood Plan.

He told councillors without the document, which would need to be created with the community, developers could challenge existing rules which allocate areas for development.

Mr Free, who is head of communities for Mid Suffolk and Babergh district councils, said there could be developments in Debenham which people “would not want”.

He said: “(The Neighbourhood Plan) is not a way of stopping development – accept you will get some. It is a way to encourage in an effort to protect and say: ‘Is a development worth it, what form of development would it be?’”

District councillor for Debenham, Kathie Guthrie, was also at the meeting.

She said: “There are still land bids in for Debenham. If you do not consider a plan you are open, (so) that they (developments) can get through or get an easy passage to get through.

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“There’s several down here that a lot of people would be against and would not want here.

“Because we are a key service centre we need to look at what we do want and do not want.”

The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework gives weight to “sustainable” developments and focuses on speeding up planning decisions. Mid Suffolk’s planning policy for the district has to conform with the national guidance.

Debenham is highlighted as one the district’s “key service centres” which are earmarked for a total of 750 new homes over the next 15 years.

Vice-chairman of the parish council, Steve Palframan, said: “A key question is to identify the life of the plan – short-term it could be the life of one full council (a year) and then see how it goes with an aspiration for a 10-20 year plan.”

He said there were six themes agreed that could make up the Neighbourhood Plan, which take about two years to create.

The Neighbourhood Plan would need to have the backing of the community via a referendum.