Final go-ahead for controversial homes on Long Melford's Skylark Fields

People from Long Melford on the Save Our Skylark Fields march Picture: RICHARD MICHETTE

People from Long Melford on the Save Our Skylark Fields march - Credit: Archant

Final planning permission has been granted for 150 homes on a controversial site in a Suffolk village after developers returned with improved plans.

Campaigners waged a long campaign to stop Skylark Fields at Long Melford being developed - with 200 people taking part in a march and other protests.

Opponents claimed there was no need for the homes and feared a huge impact on local services and infrastructure, but after an initial refusal the scheme was allowed on appeal.

Babergh District Council deferred a decision in the summer on the final matters around landscaping, scale, appearance and layout on proposals by Bloor Homes to develop the land east of Station Road.

Land east of Station Road in Long Melford, due to be developed for 150 homes.

Land east of Station Road in Long Melford, due to be developed for 150 homes. - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

That was over concerns about the impact on the area’s character, the number of four bedroom homes and green measures.

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Revised proposals returned to the council’s committee on Wednesday morning where they were unanimously approved.

Committee member Peter Beer said: “What they have now come forward with is a major improvement on the previous one.

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“We set out that we weren’t happy with what Bloor was putting forward, we were in touch with what people were thinking and feeling, we knew what was needed and they have listened and taken it on board to a certain degree.”

Among the changes made are provision of wildflower meadows, an increased number of solar panels, use of the Suffolk pink colour in the area, and a revised look to homes at the entrance of the site to include timber arches and flint.

Councillor Elisabeth Malvisi

Councillor Elisabeth Malvisi, Conservative councillor for Long Melford and cabinet member for the environment at Babergh District Council. - Credit: BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL

Alex Clark, design and technical director with Bloor, said: “We firmly believe that significant progress has been made with the scheme.

“We have reduced the number of four bedroom properties by in excess of 20%, there have been a number of design changes made to the layout and there has been an increase in sustainable measures being proposed across the site.

“In addition to improved housing mix there have been a number of design improvements made.”

But outstanding concerns remain from the parish council and ward councillor.

Dave Watts from Long Melford Parish Council said: “The number of two bedroom homes is well below the strategic housing requirements. We would like to see more two bed homes to attract much-needed younger people and first time buyers to Long Melford.”

Ward councillor Elisabeth Malvisi said the offering of just two flint-inspired homes was not “attractive enough”.

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