Plans for 32 homes blocked due to 'high level of car dependency'

The site of the proposed homes in Kenton, near Debenham

The site of the proposed homes in Kenton, near Debenham - Credit: Google Earth

A fresh scheme to build 32 homes in place of a warehouse complex near Debenham has been blocked.

Proposals were submitted for the landowner by agents Phil Cobbold Planning Ltd to Mid Suffolk District Council last November.

A previous attempt to build homes on the site in Eye Road, Kenton, was refused in 2019 amid concerns over the proposed development's "density and scale" and the number of vehicles it would bring to the village.

The resubmission of the application argued that the developers had addressed Mid Suffolk's reasons for refusal.

It was proposed that the "portacabin-type structure" at the site would not be demolished and would be donated to the village for use as a community hall.

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Planning documents said the development would reduce the number of lorries using the "unsuitable" roads in the village, resulting in improved highway safety.

It was also argued that the new builds would allow people in Kenton and the surrounding area to get on the property ladder.

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None of the homes would have been classed as affordable - but the developer said it would contribute section 106 funding towards housing provision elsewhere in the village.

The documents added: "It is acknowledged that future residents would be reliant on the use of the private car.

"However, that is the case for almost all residents in Mid Suffolk in a district where only four of the 123 settlements have a railway station and only 15 have a regular and frequent bus service to a nearby town.

"It is naïve to conclude otherwise.

"The proposal would not cause material harm to the landscape and the future residents’ reliance on the private car is outweighed by the other economic, social and environmental benefits of the scheme.

"The lack of public transport should not be seen as an impediment to redevelopment of the site. Government policy acknowledges that opportunities to use public transport in rural areas will differ from urban locations."

However, Mid Suffolk planners feared the planned development's "remote" location would "result in a high level of car dependency for future occupants".

In outlining reasons for refusal, the planners said the density and scale of the development "would result in landscape harm".

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