Housing plans rejected due to fears over primary school spaces

Plans for 65 homes in Elmswell have been rejected - Dr Helen Geake, inset. Picture: ARCHANT/GOOGLEMA

Plans for 65 homes in Elmswell have been rejected - Dr Helen Geake, inset. Picture: ARCHANT/GOOGLEMAPS - Credit: Archant

Plans for a 65 home estate in a village near Stowmarket have been rejected after concerns were raised over school places and road infrastructure.

The homes, which were planned for land to the west of the former bacon factory in Elmswell, were unanimously voted down by Mid Suffolk District Council's planning committee.

Councillors debated the plans for well over an hour with representatives from the local area voicing their concern.

Elmswell Parish Council had previously expressed worries over the new development off St Edmunds Drive, brought forward by Harrow Estates, citing issues with education and travel infrastructure in the village as grounds to reject the plans.

Those opinions were also reflected by Dr Helen Geake, Mid Suffolk District Councillor for Elmswell and Woolpit.

Speaking at the meeting, she said: "I feel I can't support the principle of development on this site because of infrastructure issues and the primary school is one of them.

"We are still told that the Elmswell Primary School expansion project will not be able to deal with pupils arising from this proposed development as existing permissions have absorbed this additional capacity.

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"The plans still talk about how there is a primary school within a 12 minute walk and this is still completely irrelevant as the children from this site will not be able to be accommodated at that primary school. Not now and not in the future.

"All of the primary school children from this development will need to be transported outside the village with, of course, massive knock-on effects for traffic, especially at the Church Road, School Road and New Road junctions.

"There are still a lot of unknowns to be sorted out."

However, in their planning statement, the company said that the site was "deliverable and suitable for development", concluding that the estate would bring "a number of substantial benefits" to the local area.

The plans would have seen a range of housing sizes and types including affordable housing.

There would also have been provision for open spaces and play areas as well as an access road joining the site to a planned estate.

In refusing the plans, the committee said that "there may not be capacity within the existing services".