Decision deferred on plans for 44 homes in Suffolk village
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Councillors have refused to approve plans for 44 homes in Elmswell until more information on the impact of a nearby quarry extension is clarified.
Previous planning permission was granted in 2018 for 38 homes on a smaller patch of that land, but that has recently expired.
Fresh plans for 44 homes are extending the site further south to include six additional homes, but the greater area means the density of homes is actually reduced.
Planning officers had recommended approval to delegate to the chief planning officer at today’s development control committee meeting at Mid Suffolk District Council, but councillors unanimously agreed to defer a decision.
That was so more information could be sought on the impact an approved expansion of the quarry to the south will have on the new homes, particularly around potential dust and noise.
Committee chairman Matthew Hicks said: “The problem is that quarry has now got permission to expand. There is nothing in the [committee] papers that talks about the impact of the expansion on the new site.
“If we are not careful the concern I have is we are approving permission to housing that on day one of occupation is going to be impacted potentially by an extended [quarry] site.”
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More information is set to be gathered from Suffolk County Council on the quarry impacts before the application returns to committee.
Arrangements around financial contributions towards school and pre-school provision are also needed, which had been recommended for the chief planning officer to confirm with the county council.
James Bailey, agent on behalf of the developers, said that the previous application meant the principle of development there had already been established, with part of the site allocated in the emerging local plan for housing.
He said there was "an expectation this site will deliver housing to Elmswell which in turn will support the growth of the district", and added: “The site area and housing numbers have been revised to achieve a more realistic and feasible layout whilst at the same time seeking to improve the landscape setting to the southern part of the village.”
Developers have committed to including bungalows, although it is not yet clear how many, and deliver safety improvements at the nearby crossroads.
Ward councillors Sarah Mansel and Helen Geake said the number of housing developments coming forward for Elmswell meant the additional six homes on land not allocated for housing wasn’t needed, with Cllr Geake saying it would "set an unfortunate precedent, it will encourage further sprawl into the countryside towards the noisy quarry".
Peter Dow, from Elmswell Parish Council, raised fears the extension south could eventually link with development of 240 homes off the nearby Wetherden Road.
The application will return to the committee in the new year with the quarry details, with a further application in future on details around layout, scale, design and landscaping needed before work can begin.