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New planning inquiry begins into 300 homes in Kesgrave following errors in last year’s review

PUBLISHED: 17:50 26 June 2018 | UPDATED: 19:54 26 June 2018

The land at Bell Lane, Kesgrave, which is the subject of a planning inquiry Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The land at Bell Lane, Kesgrave, which is the subject of a planning inquiry Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A fresh inquiry over long-running plans to build 300 homes in Kesgrave got underway this morning, following a botched review last year.

Outline plans to build 300 homes off Bell Lane were rejected by Suffolk Coastal District Council’s planning committee two years ago, prompting developer Persimmon to appeal the decision.

It went to a planning inquiry in August last year after several delays, where the planning inspector upheld the decision.

But Persimmon challenged the finding, raising a catalogue of issues over the way in which the decision was reached, resulting in the appeal being quashed and a fresh inquiry beginning today.

The four-day review, which is being held in Melton, will call on witnesses for questioning by legal representatives on behalf of both persimmon and the district council, as well as hundreds of pages of documents to help the planning inspector reach a fresh decision.

Speaking at yesterday’s opening, planning inspector John Murray said that the main issues were “whether the proposed development accords with the development plan”, whether there was “adequate access” and regard for whether a five-year housing supply could be demonstrated.

Mr Murray added: “For the avoidance of doubt, the appeal is to be considered afresh. The quashed decision is treated as though it had not been made.”

Alongside the evidence throughout the four days, the inspector will also visit the site.

The planning inspector does not have a definitive deadline to make a decision, but said he planned to do so as soon as reasonably possible.

Sasha White, representing the developers, pointed to a host of benefits – including provision of 100 affordable homes, land for a school playing field and a lack of agriculture or drainage issues.

He added: “The simple point is that even after much consideration there is not a specific reason the local planning authority members could come up with to not justify the scheme.”

Harriet Townsend representing Suffolk Coastal said that planning policy rejected expansion to the south of Kesgrave in favour of the 2,000-home Adastral Park development, and added that the proposals “run roughshod over its [national planning policy framework] commitment to the delivery of sustainable development.”

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