Appeal launched after 65-home estate rejected over school space fears

PUBLISHED: 06:04 10 May 2020 | UPDATED: 07:33 10 May 2020

An appeal over plans for 65 homes in Elmswell has been submitted. Dr Helen Geake (pictured) previously spoke against the plans . Picture: ARCHANT/GOOGLEMAPS

An appeal over plans for 65 homes in Elmswell has been submitted. Dr Helen Geake (pictured) previously spoke against the plans . Picture: ARCHANT/GOOGLEMAPS


An appeal has been launched by a developer after proposals for a 65-home estate in a village near Stowmarket were rejected due to concerns over school places and road infrastructure.

Permission to build the homes, which were planned for land to the west of the former bacon factory in Elmswell, were unanimously refused by Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee in February.

However, development company Harrow Estates has since appealed the decision, and resubmitted the application.

In a letter written on behalf of the company addressing the committee’s decision, the refusal was described as ‘unreasonable’.

It said that the application was denied for a “single reason” - that allegedly Elmswell cannot accommodate the new development due to a lack of primary school places - but added that a lack of support from the joint local plan was also a concern for councillors.

Harrow Estates added that it believed neither concerns could “justify” the refusal of the application.

In papers submitted to the council, Harrow Estates says that the plans will see the delivery of a “sustainable high quality development” that can be sensitively integrated into the settlement of Elmswell.

They say that a mix of dwellings will be built to meet “identified local needs” and the number of homes will help the district to meet housing targets.

However, at the time of the original committee meeting in February, councillors raised a number of concerns over the site.

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Speaking at the meeting Dr Helen Geake, Mid Suffolk District Councillor for Elmswell and Woolpit, said that she could not support the site due to ‘infrastructure issues’ including primary school places.

She said: “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 school.

“Not now and not in the future.

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

In unanimously refusing the application the committee said that “there may not be capacity within the existing services”.

Harrow Estates say that the wording does not indicate that there is a problem, as it goes no further than suggesting that there “might” be an issue with primary school places.

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