Land sale to fund sea defences

RESIDENTS have failed in their bid to stop houses being built on land outside their village to fund vital sea defence work on the Suffolk coast.

Richard Smith

RESIDENTS have failed in their bid to stop houses being built on land outside their village to fund vital sea defence work on the Suffolk coast.

They had been unhappy since a site in Bushy Lane, Hollesley, near Woodbridge, was earmarked for houses contrary to the district council's planning policy.

The land is outside the village and, under normal circumstances, it cannot be used for housing. But Suffolk Coastal had made an exception so that the proceeds from the land sale could help with the cost of building sea defences at East Lane, Bawdsey.


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Other sites for new homes in Bawdsey and Alderton have been given permission to ensure that more than £2million is raised to fund the emergency work.

In November 2007 the district council approved plans for four houses in Bushy Lane, Hollesley, for the East Lane Trust.

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But then there was a difficulty in selling the site due to the economic downturn and there was a delay until a prospective buyer emerged who wanted two larger houses instead of the four which had consent.

The Trust then had to ask for permission for two houses on the land and this application triggered off further complaints from residents in the Bushy Lane area.

A report by planning officers to the development control sub committee admitted: ''The site lies well outside the physical limits of the village of Hollesley, some 300 metres as the crow flies and in excess of 600 metres by road at its nearest point. The village shop lies a further 450 metres away.''

One objector told the sub committee that the purpose of the development was to protect three private properties at East Lane and agricultural land from coastal erosion.

He claimed the effect of that coastal erosion on Hollesley had been unsubstantiated and Hollesley had not been included on the Environment Agency's map in relation to that.

Suffolk Preservation Society said sea defences should be dealt with as part of an overall sea defence strategy, and the site in Hollesley should not be used to fund that work.

The Society said the land was not suitable for housing and there was no logical reason for the development.

However, planning officers pointed out that four houses had already been approved, and a plan for two houses was not worse than four properties. They also covered less floorspace overall.

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