Kesgrave homes scheme is deferred – for a possible larger development

Bell Lane, Kesgrave.

Bell Lane, Kesgrave. - Credit: Archant

Proposals for 300 new homes have been set aside to allow planners to talk to developers and the community about an alternative scheme.

Suffolk Coastal councillors today rejected officers’ advice to approve the current project suggested for 37 acres of farmland east of Bell Lane.

They indicated they would refuse the scheme but then after hearing that Kesgrave was not against growth but wanted it “properly planned”, they opted instead for a deferral to enable planners to meet with the developers.

The outcome could be the withdrawal of the current planning application and submission of a new one for an even larger scheme – perhaps up to 1,000 homes.

Councillors argued that a bigger development than that proposed would enable the new estate to be “better connected” socially, and by vehicle and pedestrian routes, to the existing settlement of Kesgrave, and for highways problems to be resolved, and more infrastructure to be provided, such as better education and medical facilities, creating a vibrant community.

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It could mean using much more of the field bounded by the current southern edge of Kesgrave and its Grange Farm area, Dobbs Lane, Bell Lane and Foxhall Road.

Head of planning Philip Ridley said the negotiations over the possibility of a larger development would take place between planning officers, the developers Persimmon Homes and BPT Limited, and the community.

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He said: “The applicants for this development are here at the meeting today and they and the council officers have heard loud and clear what the committee wants to take forward and to act as a catalyst for further discussions. Hopefully we will be able to address those concerns and the developers can come forward with a planning application everyone can support.”

If an agreement doesn’t materialise, then councillors can reconsider and refuse the current application.

Debbie McCallum, planning committee chairman and councillor for Kesgrave West, said: “In Kesgrave, we are not saying no development, we are saying it must be the right development that gives us what we need – the right infrastructure – and 300 homes is not going to give us that.

“I am a true advocate of growth. We need new homes for our young families to move into and for our older people to downsize, but that should not come at any cost and must be planned properly.”

However, she said Kesgrave had expanded rapidly in recent years – from 5,000 to 14,500 population in just over two decades – and needed time to settle and mature.

Councillor Andy Smith said the spine road through the proposed development came to an abrupt stop and was clearly to be extended in a future phase in years to come. He said consideration of a larger development now could provide a wider range of housing types and solutions to the highways issues with access onto Bell Lane, Dobbs Lane and Foxhall Road, dispersing the traffic rather than putting it all onto one junction.

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