Conservation group concerned new 279 homes plans will create 'new village'

Land off Barking Road in Needham Market where plans have been lodged for 279 homes

Land off Barking Road in Needham Market where plans have been lodged for 279 homes - Credit: Google Maps

Conservation group the Needham Market Society is "extremely concerned" that plans for 279 homes will create a "new village" on the edge of the town.

The group's objection comes after Needham Market Town Council also objected to the project for land off Barking Road.

The plans for the project were submitted by landowners David Willis, Marlene Perry, and Michael Watson, just before Christmas last year.

Parker Planning Services, on behalf of the applicants, says the plans, which would include 100 affordable homes, "demonstrates aesthetically pleasing architecture that enhances the site whilst establishing it as somewhere people would enjoy living both now and in future".

In its official objection, The Needham Market Society said it was time to pause development of the town until its new Neighbourhood Plan was implemented.

It said: "We are extremely concerned at proposals to build 279 homes on open farmland, accessed solely from Barking Road near the doctor's surgery.

"The site plan appears to create an independent 'new village' without facilities, abutting but not accessible directly to/from the town except predominantly by vehicle.

"This application for 279 houses, together with other proposals, will alter the 'centre of gravity' of the modern 'new town' and encroach on Barking itself, and such expansion will be very visible from the Barking side of the valley ridge.

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"With no pre-planning of what an ultimate 'new town' will encompass (with 10,000 population, or growth to 20,000?), we feel it will be too late to plan necessary infrastructure to ensure the town continues to have a healthy quality of life, for current and future residents."

The group is also concerned about the lack of improved or new infrastructure for the town to provide necessary services.

It said: "Associated with town growth is delivery of appropriate health and education provision - our surgery and primary school are already at saturation, before any new developments.

"Equally important are centralised open spaces to benefit the mental and physical health of local residents (as with any town or city). It seems an appropriate moment to 'pause' further major development sites, until our Neighbourhood Plan's strategic vision of a sustainable 'new town' is implemented, with required infrastructure and parks pre-planned prior to further major housing/population expansion."