Wherstead 75 homes given final approval after two years of delays
PUBLISHED: 11:36 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:42 23 September 2020
Long-running plans for 75 homes in Wherstead have been given the final green light, after two years of delays.
Babergh District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday morning approved the plans by Bellway Homes to develop land on Klondyke Field off Bourne Hill, which had originally secured outline planning permission back in December 2018.
That permission was secured by Pigeon Investments Ltd, before it sold the land to Bellway.
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The final details were due for approval last month.
However, Babergh’s planning committee requested improvements on a number of elements including more bungalows, better amenity space around the flats and a ‘pepper-pot’ distribution of the housing, as well as a greater number of two-bed houses instead of the larger four-bedroom homes.
While some improvements were made to the space around the flats and the distributing of homes, as well as a more robust boundary of the site with the A137, the number of bungalows remained at just three and the mix of homes did not change.
The bungalows have been a particular point of contention, after drawings at the outline stage indicated around 16 single-storey homes would be built.
Despite reservations, the committee reluctantly approved the plans by eight votes to three.
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Robin Coates, from Wherstead Parish Council, said: “Reducing the number of bungalows from 16 down to three as Bellway are trying to do is an 80% reduction in the number of bungalows and I cannot see any way how these can be considered as being in general conforming with the outline planning permission.”
However, planning and legal officers at the council said that the general layout presented at the outline stage did not indicate bungalows.
As outline permission had been granted it was considered “unlawful at this stage to impose further restrictions on the housing mix that wasn’t secured at outline”.
Sarah Cornwell, agent on behalf of Bellway, said: “We have been working positively with planning officers over the last month to come to a compromise on some of the outstanding issues.”
On the housing mix, she added: “We know ultimately that is what will sell in that area, and that is the aspiration for the [housing] market.”
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Councillor Melanie Barrett said that while it was disappointing that more bungalows could not be secured, the council “has to respect that our aspirations are not always shared”.
Committee chairman Peter Beer said he was disappointed there were not more bungalows, but added that it “demonstrates Babergh District Council’s commitment to ensuring the right types of homes are built in the right places, with positive discussions taking place with the applicant to address concerns raised by the local community and our committee”.
A date for work commencing has not yet been given, but at last month’s committee when the decision was deferred Bellway had suggested it was keen to begin work promptly, having planned to start work on site this month had approval been given then.
The development will include 49 open market homes and 26 affordable, primarily being two-storey homes of three or four bedrooms.
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