New homes would cause ‘considerable harm’ to AONB, claims inspector
Proposals for 43 new homes on the site of a former brickworks in Aldeburgh have been refused because of the “considerable harm” it would cause a beautiful area.
Campaigners are celebrating victory following years of work to stop the development in Saxmundham Road at a quarry where Reades Brickworks was based in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
After Suffolk Coastal initially refused permission, Lowestoft-based developer MS Oakes Ltd appealed and a six-day planning inquiry was held and the appeal has now been dismissed.
Planning inspector Lesley Coffey said: “The proposal would be major development within the AONB and I have found that there are no exceptional circumstances to justify it. It would also harm the character and appearance of the surrounding area and the natural beauty of the AONB.”
While the affordable homes in the project would have been welcome to Aldeburgh, the “loss of openness and tranquillity” would have caused “considerable harm” to the AONB.
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Tony Fryatt, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member for planning, welcomed the “significant decision” by the inspector, which re-enforced the important role of the Local Plan.
The council had felt the scheme would create “unacceptable harm” to the AONB and the proposed design was not sensitive to Aldeburgh.
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Mr Fryatt said: “In supporting this stance, and also recognising that we already have an adequate housing supply in the pipeline for years to come, the independent planning inspector has vindicated our stated position that Suffolk Coastal welcomes the right sort of development in the right places, but we also have a responsibility to protect our unique environment and will reject ill-conceived development proposals which would adversely affect our communities.”
Mayor of John Digby said: “The district council, the town council, the Aldeburgh Society and dozens of residents combined to fight this appeal. We mounted a well-argued case and common sense prevailed.”
Aldeburgh Town Clerk, Ruth Proctor said this ruling would have great significance beyond the town.
“This was an issue which had to be fought. Major developments on AONBs should only be allowed in very exceptional circumstances. In this case, there were none.
“These areas have special protected status and should not be regarded as potential sites for housing or large infrastructure projects.”
Katherine Mackie, of the Aldeburgh Society, hailed the decision as an historic victory which would represent a clear precedent for any further attempts to intrude on AONBs within the town and beyond.
No-one was available to comment from MS Oakes Ltd.