Long-running bid for 65 homes in Elmswell gets approval
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Long-delayed plans for 65 homes close to the former bacon factory in Elmswell have finally been given the go-ahead after a series of setbacks.
Harrow Estates Plc lodged the original outline plans to develop 65 homes on land west of the old factory back in August 2019, but they were refused in February amid concerns that the village could not accommodate the development because of a lack of primary school places.
The company appealed that decision, but lodged a fresh application for the same number of homes on the same portion of land in the meantime.
MORE: Elmswell 65 homes plan rejected amid fears for primary school placesFollowing a deferral in August for the new application when councillors couldn’t reach a decision, Mid Suffolk District Council’s development control committee gave approval by five votes to three on Wednesday morning when the plans returned for approval.
The appeal on the original plans is still to be determined, although it is not clear if Harrow will withdraw that appeal now it has secured permission on the new application.
Councillors remained divided over the resolution for new school places, which would be provided by an expansion of the existing primary in Elmswell and a new school in Woolpit.
Councillor Andrew Mellen said: “We have development in Elsmwell that can be accommodated and then we have to decide on an application that would take things over and above that.
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“The answer to that, apparently, is to bus children to Woolpit which just seems to be completely incomprehensible.”
But councillor Kathie Guthrie said: “If the county [council] are going to invest in a new school in Woolpit I can think of nothing better – how exciting to have a new school that will be purpose built for those young children of today and tomorrow.”
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Improvements to pavements and a planned cycleway being created from developer contributions across several housing schemes were also highlighted.
Harrow is set to provide £544,000 towards the new school provision, as well as £55,000 on the new footway and cycle path and allocating 22 homes as affordable.
But ward councillors Sarah Mansel and Helen Geake both remained against the proposal, citing reasons of environmental impact on busing children to Woolpit and expansion of the village onto a site outside of the settlement boundary and emerging local plan as issues.
MORE: Elmswell 65 homes decision deferredAs the plans are only outline, a detailed application must return for the council to determine the appearance, layout and scale of the development.
A spokesman from Harrow said: “We are very pleased with the planning committee’s decision to support the application proposals. The scheme will deliver real benefits for the local community and will play an important role in providing much needed homes, including affordable homes, in the area. We look forward to taking the development forward.”