Easton housing site is “absolutely ghastly prospect” says neighbouring resident at appeal hearing

Easton, Suffolk

Easton, Suffolk - Credit: Archant

A decision on whether to allow a 14-home development in a rural Suffolk conservation area is now in the hands of a planning inspector after the plans were heard on appeal yesterday.

Hopkins and Moore, a sister company of Hopkins Homes, is appealing Suffolk Coastal District Council’s (SCDC) refusal of plans for 14 homes on land off The Street, Easton. The development would include four affordable homes, garages, an access road and parking, an extension of the grounds at Easton Primary School and a new 35-space school car park.

The council refused the scheme in January 2015 on the grounds that it would cause “substantial harm” to the village’s conservation area and would impact on nearby listed buildings, going against officers’ recommendations to approve it.

However, planning manager for Hopkins & Moore, Robert Eburne, said that the council’s current objections were unfair as the plans had been developed with input from council officers and abided by the relevant storey height, landscaping and location policies.

“We had no feedback to suggest it’s unacceptable,” he said. “It has been looked at at all levels of expertise. The council has changed its mind without any reference to any evidence.

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“It has been the council’s view consistently that this site is a suitable site for development.

“The site has a close location with Framlingham and Wickham Market which do have high order facilities and services to support the sustainability of the site and the development.

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“We feel we have proposed a proportionate development. It’s not a significant size development. It’s proportionate to the scale and function of the village.”

However, SCDC officer Liz Beighton said the council could now demonstrate a five year housing land supply, and that the development was no longer required to help the council meet government-set housing targets, a point which was disputed by Hopkins & Moore.

The application also found opposition from Easton Parish Council and a number of local residents.

Nigel Pike, who lives in the Grade II listed Verandah Cottages which is next to the development site, said: “This development is not going to overshadow, it’s going to completely dominate.

“It will completely bully the whole landscape.

“It’s just an absolutely ghastly prospect.

“This overlooks our houses and our gardens...this is absolutely an outrageous proposal.”

Resident Mrs Godfrey-Hollins added: “Yes there’s Wickham Market, there’s Framlingham, but Easton doesn’t have any public transport services at all. That’s quite significant. When we talk about broadband it’s almost non-existent.

“This is still set aside as prime agricultural land.”

Inspector Deborah Board is due to visit the site with both parties today.

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