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Fresh bid for homes on Stowmarket site by developers behind 'worst case of speculative application'

PUBLISHED: 17:20 15 February 2019

The view across Poplar Hill with the Grade I Listed Church of St Mary, which planning committee members in September said would be ruined by any development of 160 homes. Picture: IAN CLARK

The view across Poplar Hill with the Grade I Listed Church of St Mary, which planning committee members in September said would be ruined by any development of 160 homes. Picture: IAN CLARK

Ian Clark

Developers behind rejected plans for 160 homes in Stowmarket dubbed the "worst case of speculative application to exploit for profit" have submitted a fresh bid to develop the land.

The land in Poplar Hill Stowmarket eyed for development by Gladman. Picture: GOOGLE MAPSThe land in Poplar Hill Stowmarket eyed for development by Gladman. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Gladman Developments Ltd failed to get its application for 160 homes off Poplar Hill past Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee in September last year amid a swathe of public opposition.

A campaign group called Save Mill Mount Field put together a petition of 1,500 signatures, while Ringshall ward councillor David Whybrow in the committee meeting described it as “one of the worst cases of speculative application to exploit for profit” he had ever seen.

Stowmarket South councillor Nick Gowrley said he had “never received so much adverse comment” for a proposal.

Among concerns were the impact on the landscape and the Grade I Listed Church of St Mary, the effect it would have on roads being turned into rat runs and the development reducing the separation between Stowmarket and Combs.

Now, Gladman has resubmitted an outline application for the greenfield site, this time for 138 homes.

In its application, the firm said: “The proposed development has been carefully considered to ensure that it will provide high quality sustainable development.”

The planning statement said it “responds sensitively to the site setting” and would create an “attractive development while minimising any potential harm”.

The land is not designated for housing in any plan for the district, and comes as the council is consulting on its five year land supply with the public.

Councils without a five year land supply must give more weight to applications in favour of approval as long as they are sustainable.

Consultees including ward councillors, town and parish councils, and other relevant public bodies such as Historic England, Suffolk County Council and Environmental Health have been contacted to share their comments, before the application goes to committee this spring.

The county council’s flood and water management team have lodged a holding objection over the flood risk assessment.

A spokesman from Gladman has been approached for comment but was unavailable at the time of publishing.

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