Developer seeks another appeal victory against district’s housing snub

The site of the Yarmouth Road homes application in Melton. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

The site of the Yarmouth Road homes application in Melton. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

A public inquiry will decide if planning chiefs were right to scrap proposals for housing and a nursing home near Woodbridge.

Developers have lodged an appeal over the district’s refusal to allow 138 properties and a 60 bedroom nursing home, with 50 assisted living apartments, to be built on land off Yarmouth Road, Melton.

Two years ago, Christchurch Land and Estates Ltd, successfully overturned Suffolk Coastal’s decision to throw out plans for 180 homes currently under construction on a 20-acre site in nearby Woods Lane.

The same firm wants similar agreement from the planning inspector over the application refused in April this year.

More than 150 objections were filed against the proposals, which the council admitted would have provided open market housing, affordable housing, a care home and assisted living apartments, as well as short-term construction and long-term nursing employment.

But planning chiefs said it would also represent a significant departure from the Suffolk Coastal’s own development plan and Melton Parish Council’s emerging neighbourhood plan, which will be voted on by referendum this December.

Developers argued that the district council was unable to demonstrate an adequate five-year supply of housing land – required by national planning policy – and should, therefore, presume in favour of sustainable development. Under the requirement, permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.

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But Suffolk Coastal said the development was unsustainable, would be harmful to the landscape, cause severe congestion and be detrimental to highway safety.

Last month, the government overturned Suffolk Coastal’s refusal to allow Christchurch Land and Estates to build housing, a care home, assisted living units and a community centre on the approach to Felixstowe.

During an inquiry, the company had argued the council had underestimated its required five-year housing land supply and should have presumed in favour of development.

Suffolk Coastal claimed it had a 5.8-year supply of housing at the time of its decision two years ago – and can now demonstrate a supply of 7.1 years.