Level crossing safety fears put brakes on village 85 homes plan

Bacton 85 homes development site

The site of the 85 homes set to be built in Bacton. - Credit: Google Earth

Plans for 85 homes in Bacton face a stumbling block following an objection from Network Rail.

Mid Suffolk District Council's planning committee meeting was told the main concern surrounding the project was the efficacy of a railway crossing near the site, which Network Rail said would cost between £100,000 and £5million to make safe.

The crossing allows people to access sports grounds, including Brickwall Meadow, the home of Bacton United 89 Football Club.

The project, submitted by Bellway Homes, is made up of two one-bedroom, 31 two-bedroom, 31 three-bedroom and 21 four-bedroom properties, 30 of which have been earmarked as affordable housing.

The site, which spans 12 acres, is located to the south of Bacton, on land south of Birch Avenue, around five miles from Stowmarket.

The planning committee on February 9 heard the objection brought forward by Network Rail, which said: "The development will cause a significant increase in volume and change in character of traffic over the level crossing.

Site of the crossing at Bacton

The site of the crossing that raised concerns with Network Rail. - Credit: Google Earth

"The development will increase the risk level of the level crossing due to the likely increase in crossing users, including vulnerable users."

Most Read

An agent representing Bellway Homes said that Network Rail's claims on the scale of the use of the crossing were a "significant overestimation", but the developers would be looking at ways to make sure that the crossing was safe prior to occupation.

Councillors decided to put the plans on hold and allow time for the chief planning officer to speak with Network Rail and come up with a solution.

Ward councillor, Andy Mellen, speaking after the meeting, said: "I am pleased that we have taken a step closer towards knowing what will happen on this site.

"The people of Bacton are rightly concerned about the number of new homes coming to their village, which are a direct result of government policy and the Conservative-run district council failing to maintain a five year housing land supply in years past.  

"This scheme is much improved on what was first proposed,  and I know that the council's planning team will ensure the railway foot crossing next to the site is made as safe as possible before the new houses are occupied."