Homes before bypass pledge

LAST ditch efforts to save a controversial veto preventing the development of 700 homes and new industry until a bypass is assured have failed.At the start of the process of reviewing the local plan 18 months ago, Babergh District Council attempted to postpone the development of housing and industry, known as the Chilton development, in the Sudbury and Great Cornard area until Suffolk County Council promised to deliver a western bypass for the town.

LAST ditch efforts to save a controversial veto preventing the development of 700 homes and new industry until a bypass is assured have failed.

At the start of the process of reviewing the local plan 18 months ago, Babergh District Council attempted to postpone the development of housing and industry, known as the Chilton development, in the Sudbury and Great Cornard area until Suffolk County Council promised to deliver a western bypass for the town.

But earlier this month Babergh's strategy committee, backed by officers overturned a recommendation by the council's local plan task group to keep the link.

It was argued that to keep it would undermine the council's efforts to fulfill its target for new housing needed in the district by deterring developers who might then look at other, less difficult sites.


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Opening an at times impassioned two-hour debate at council yesterday strategy committee chairman Colin Spence said the Chilton development was the single most important issue the council faced in the local plan process, warning that Babergh would be in a very weak position if it had to defend keeping the link.

Sudbury councillor Martyn Booth was determined to try, as was development committee chairman Clive Arthey.

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Mr Booth said: "I have heard it said that we must think strategically. Please tell me what is strategic about accepting the Chilton package without an integrated approach to Sudbury's transport needs."

Mr Arthey pointed out: "When the planning inspector assessed the Thorrington Hall development beside the A14 at Ipswich he required £1.2 million of highway improvements for what was a purely residential development of 700 homes on 50 acres.

"The inspector said the development would generate significant traffic flows and this view was supported by County Highways.

"Here at Chilton we have 50 acres of employment land and 700 houses and the county says resultant increase in traffic flows will be small."

However, several other councillors pointed out that Sudbury was in dire need of affordable homes as well as jobs to stop the town's young people being forced to move elsewhere.

It was also pointed out that if the development went ahead the resulting increase in traffic, including numbers of large lorries from the industrial segment, would help strengthen the case for the bypass.

Councillors agreed to break the link between the development and the bypass having agreed that all votes be recorded.

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