Long-awaited decision due on 375 Lakenheath homes bid

PUBLISHED: 07:28 02 November 2019

Potential noise impacts from jets at nearby RAF Lakenheath have been a sticking point with the Station Road homes application. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Potential noise impacts from jets at nearby RAF Lakenheath have been a sticking point with the Station Road homes application. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Long-delayed plans for 375 homes in Lakenheath are set to get a fresh decision on planning permission on Wednesday.

West Suffolk Council's planning committee has been given the recommendation to approve the application by the Cobbold Family and Pigeon Investment Management, comprising outline permission for 375 homes, full permission for a new access road off Station Road and land for a new primary school.

Original plans were submitted in November 2014, but had been hampered by a number of amendments needed, an intervention by communities secretary Sajid Javid, and wrangling over habitat laws.

The plans were approved by what was then Forest Heath District Council last year but have had to return because of further changes in habitat legislation. The land is also now allocated for mixed use in the council's housing allocations.

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It is once again due for approval, subject to financial contributions being agreed.

The planning officers' report said that the committee must "consider the planning application afresh and reach a new resolution".

It added: "Having carefully considered all of the issues raised by the planning application proposals, including the evidence and opinions submitted on behalf of the applicants, the contributions of key consultees, the views of the Lakenheath Parish Council and members of the public whom have participated, your officers recommend that planning permission is granted, following prior completion of a S106 agreement."

Lakenheath Parish Council has consistently objected to the plans on several grounds, including a lack of an overall masterplan linked to other developments in the area, impact on countryside landscape, lack of public transport improvements, noise impacts and oversubscribed health services.

Suffolk County Council had granted planning permission for a new primary school, which led to a costly court battle after the parish council objected because it felt the noise impacts from the nearby airbase would be too severe.

If planning permission is approved for the homes, it will only be outline permission which approves the principal of the development. Full designs would need to return for approval at a later date.

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