Draft vision for Bury St Edmunds south-east development includes traveller site

Location plan for the south-east Bury St Edmunds development.

Location plan for the south-east Bury St Edmunds development. - Credit: Contributed

Travellers have welcomed the inclusion of a potential site for them within draft plans for a 1,250-home development in south-east Bury St Edmunds.

The Delaney family had already applied to turn the woodland area off Rougham Hill into a private site with five pitches, but St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s development control committee rejected the proposal in February.

Now, house builder Hopkins Homes and its development partner Pigeon have included a potential location for a gypsy and traveller site – in the same woodland area – in their draft masterplan documents for a new neighbourhood, called Abbots Vale.

Planning agent Michael Hargreaves, who represents the Delaney family, said this inclusion would “put us in a very strong position” at the appeal over the refused plans.

A key reason why the committee rejected the proposal for the private site was that the application was premature as the south-east Bury masterplan was not in place.

But the borough’s concept statement for the south-east site does say gypsy and traveller provision needs to be considered.

Mr Hargreaves said: “We very much welcome the approach that Pigeon and Hopkins Homes have adopted. We are happy they have done what they are required to do.

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“In some ways this is a key milestone for us in moving towards appealing the planning decision.”

Robert Eburne, planning manager for Hopkins Homes, said: “In accordance with the Bury St Edmunds Vision 2031 [local plan] document, opportunities for community build projects and for gypsy and traveller accommodation will also be explored in the masterplan should a need be identified at the time of development.”

A borough council spokesman said: “The planning application earlier this year was refused, in part, because the masterplan for the site had not been approved, as well as concerns that it would result in a loss of woodland.

“The masterplan now brings that gypsy and traveller provision back and invites people to comment as to what provision should be made, if any, as part of that site.”

There had been considerable opposition to the Delaney family’s application, with the majority of concerns over the loss of community woodland and it was suggested the plans breached the borough’s own policies as a masterplan had not yet been adopted.

Anyone who wants to comment on the draft masterplan for the south-east Bury development has until midnight on Sunday, June 7.

Visit www.abbotsvale.com