‘Unsustainable’ bid for 149 houses near stately home is rejected

The Jacobean property at Haughley Park. Picture: ARCHANT

The Jacobean property at Haughley Park. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

An application for 149 new houses on the site of a disused chicken processing factory has been unanimously rejected by councillors who described the development as “unsustainable”.

The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park.

The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

The properties - which were proposed by developer Amber REI - would be located at Haughley Park, between Elmswell and Haughley, on the site of an old 2 Sisters factory, adjacent to a Grade 1 listed Jacobean manor house.

Mid Suffolk Distict Council’s development control committee met at Endeavour House in Ipswich today (February 13) to debate the plans which had been recommended for refusal by council officers.

The officers found that the development would be too far away from amenities, meaning residents would be forced to use cars to travel to shops, train stations and schools.

They also found that children living in the housing estate would over-populate nurseries and primary schools in Elmswell and Haughley, which are already at capacity and cannot be developed.

Rachel Eburne, councillor for Haughley and Wetherden, said: “We have worked with residents in the local area to identify sites where new housing could be built. This was not one of those sites.

“There are no facilities being built on site, meaning that anyone living there would have to use their car to go to the shops or drop their children at school. They would not easily be able to access Elmswell or Haughley by public transport.”

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Robert Williams inherited Haughley Park from his father, who originally invested in the site to prevent the manor from being knocked down in the 1960s.

The factory which was built next to the 17th century house was functional until five years ago.

Mr Williams now admits that building the factory on the estate would have been a bad planning decision.

He said: “We have a rare opportunity to put right the wrong decision that happened when the factory was originally built.

“Factories have life spans. But with houses, once they are there, they will always be there.

“Our land is used by many Suffolk groups for camping, running, cycling and scouting. We do not want it to be spoiled.”

A representative for the development company said that housing was the best way to utilise the site and that they would agree to help build a school if the planning application was accepted.

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