Decision made on homes plan off narrow village lane

Hawes Lane junction with Heath Road in Norton

The junction of Hawes Lane with Heath Road in Norton which construction traffic would have to navigate to access the development site if plans are approved - Credit: Andy Sedgwick

Plans to develop village land requiring access down a narrow rural lane in Norton have been rejected once again.

Mid Suffolk District Council refused plans for nine homes off Hawes Lane in Norton by Ash Property Consortium Ltd at its meeting on Wednesday morning, citing fresh highways and rural character concerns.

Developers had originally submitted plans for 20 homes there in 2019, rejected by the committee in the autumn of that year and upheld by the Planning Inspectorate on appeal.

Land in Hawes Lane, Norton

Hawes Lane in Norton, where proposals have been lodged for nine homes - Credit: Andy Sedgwick

The main reason for refusal then was the conflict between traffic and pedestrians in the narrow Hawes Lane access where there was not a designated footpath.

Revised plans for nine homes on the same plot of land were lodged, and despite recognition by Mid Suffolk's development control committee members that some efforts had been made to address the problem, there had not been enough movement to mitigate concerns.

Council leader Matthew Hicks said Suffolk needed a council that was representative of the population

Mid Suffolk District Council development control committee chairman Matthew Hicks

Committee chairman Matthew Hicks said "there isn't enough of a change".

"Looking at it raw, there are too many things that do not stack up that allow me to support the application," he added. 

Councillor John Field said he was concerned by the proposed solution of five passing places, as it would urbanise the rural lane.

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While councillor Rachel Eburne said it was "wholly unsuitable for development".

Mid Suffolk District Council Green party leader Rachel Eburne said the task force had been effective

Rachel Eburne from Mid Suffolk District Council - Credit: Green Party

The plans had been recommended for approval, and highways officers did not raise any objections, however the latest reasons for refusal were the continuing concerns there would still be a conflict between pedestrians and traffic, the detriment to the character of Hawes Lane and urbanising effect of footpaths and passing places.

Phil Cobbold, planning agent on behalf of the developers, said: "This new proposal has been the subject of detailed discussions with the highways authority," and added that they "now considered they are happy with the scheme and considers it addresses their previous concerns and those of the Planning Inspectorate".

Aerial image of land off Hawes Lane in Norton

Land off Hawes Lane in Norton where proposals for nine homes have been lodged - Credit: Google Maps

Mr Cobbold said nine homes instead of 20 will generate fewer traffic movements, and would deliver economic, environmental and social benefits.

The parish council voiced opposition, while ward councillors Wendy Turner and Harry Richardson highlighted that it was outside of the settlement boundary and the land had been rejected during consideration of the joint local plan because of "not having any suitable access".

Cllr John Field questioned whether enough was being done to encourage Suffolk homes to recycle in th

Cllr John Field questioned whether enough was being done to encourage Suffolk homes to recycle in the first place. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant