Row erupts over home numbers and sites after green light for joint local plan

Councillors Andrew Stringer and David Burn

A row has erupted between councillors after a decision to allow the Mid Suffolk and Babergh Councils joint local plan to move forward. - Credit: Archant/Mid Suffolk District Council

A row has erupted at Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils over a decision by planning inspectors to allow work on their joint local plan to continue.

State-appointed planning inspectors have decided that the joint plan should move forward in two parts.

Social, economic, and environmental objectives will be put in place first, with land strategy and housing allocations addressed in the second phase - despite concerns locally about how many homes will be built and where.

Inspectors were satisfied that Babergh and Mid-Suffolk could keep up with housing needs for the two districts while the second phase of the plan was developed.

Babergh District Council's cabinet member for planning, councillor Clive Arthey said: "Development is something that comes up time and again when talking with our residents.

"We want everyone to understand how we’re going to provide the housing and the jobs needed in Babergh, and look forward to having this clearly laid out in an adopted Joint Local Plan. 

Clive Arthey, Independent councillor for Lavenham at Babergh District Council, as well as deputy cou

Babergh District Council's Cabinet member for Planning, Clive Arthey says that the decision by the planning inspectors is welcome. - Credit: BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL

"There is still plenty of work to do in the months ahead, but today’s agreement means with can press on with clarity."

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Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for planning, councillor David Burn said: “I am pleased that today’s decision means we can still look forward to having an adopted Joint Local Plan in 2022, as this plan is key to helping to shape the future of Mid Suffolk."

However, the Green and Liberal Democrat council group is concerned with the decision, citing the timetable of the plan as a worry. 

Shadow portfolio holder for planning, councillor Andrew Stringer said: "Many communities are rightly concerned that even further delays in knowing how many, and where, our future houses will be built will lead to ever-increasing houses being built in areas unplanned for mass development in an already overcooked local housing market

"Communities having confidence about how many homes they need to provide for, and where, is further away today than it was a year ago."

The group do appreciate the inspector's recognition of their work to improve the environmental, social and economic policies included in the plan.