Gislingham: Developers win appeal to build village homes

A DECISION to refuse planning permission for 24 new homes in a Suffolk village has been overturned.

The Planning Inspectorate has allowed an appeal against the proposals for the development in Gislingham, which were originally turned down by Mid Suffolk District Council in December 2009.

Outline planning permission was sought for 16 private homes and eight affordable properties, with associated garages, parking spaces and footpaths, at Chapel Farm in Mill Street.

However, the parish council strongly opposed the density of the development and the lack of infrastructure to support it and the district council’s planning committee rejected the proposal.

Applicant R Palmer appealed against the district council’s judgment and the Planning Inspectorate’s decision was announced this week.

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In his report, planning inspector Ron Boyd said he was satisfied the proposed development could be carried out “without harming the distinctive overall identity” of Mill Street.

He added: “I have considered the effect of the proposals in the light of the concerns of the parish council and local residents and all other issues raised.

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“On balance I consider the appeal should succeed.”

Mr Boyd included 22 conditions with his decision that dealt with a number of issues, ranging from hedgerow removal to affordable homes standards.

He said: “The council suggested a number of conditions. I am imposing those which I consider to be necessary to provide guidance.

“I am not satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist which would justify my removing permitted development rights at this stage.”

While confirming his decision, Mr Boyd decided against awarding costs to the developers, stating he was satisfied that “unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary expense” had not been demonstrated by Mid Suffolk District Council when making the original decision.

Gislingham Parish Clerk Terry Williams said the council still believed the scale of the development was unsustainable.

He said: “All the things we put forward were pretty much ignored in the appeal hearing. We are not very happy.”

Residents’ group chairman Stuart Wells said the appeal decision “endangered the spirit” of the village and there would be more opposition when detailed plans are submitted.

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