Judicial appeal launched over approval of 64 homes in village

The homes plan for Boxford has proved controversial Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Land off Sand Hill in Boxford earmarked for development by Catesby - Credit: Google Maps

Parish councillors have launched a judicial appeal over the approval of 64 homes in a Suffolk village, claiming that decision makers had been "misdirected" on a number of key issues.

Boxford Parish Council last week unanimously agreed to pursue legal action to have the decision by Babergh District Council last summer to approve outline plans for 64 homes by Catesby Development Land Ltd off Sand Hill in Boxford quashed.

The parish council said: "Parish councillors considered that members of BDC’s planning committee had been misdirected on a number of key planning considerations, including lack of awareness that community benefits (a community building) were not in reality being offered to justify a departure from local policy, that a highway proposal to create a footpath linking to the village centre did not conform to national guidance, and that providing such a footpath in Ellis Street would narrow the road causing a conflict between pedestrians and vehicles."

It said calls for a highways assessment went unheeded, and said the Section 106 agreement - that which secures financial contributions for community infrastructure such as roads, schools and health services - "did not match" what was agreed by Babergh councillors in June 2020.

Parish council chairman Julian Fincham-Jacques said: “The parish council has supported local housing for local people and has helped to deliver a number of schemes in recent years.

"The approval given to an out-of-area land agent does not address that need as the quota of affordable housing in the scheme will be available to many thousands of people in many other council areas. It is not local needs housing so will not benefit local people.

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"The outline approval flies in the face of the draft local plan and will create worrying road safety issues within the village.

"Suffolk County Council has now admitted that the footpath link provided for may not conform to that approved at the meeting, so we are dumfounded that both BDC and SCC have got this so wrong to the extent that there is a legal case for the setting aside of the planning decision.”

Original plans presented to Babergh in September 2019 for 80 homes were refused because children would need to use buses for school as a result of the shortage of school places, and the negative impacts it would have on nearby roads.

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That prompted a revised plan to be submitted, approved by Babergh's planning committee in June by seven votes to three.

A spokeswoman from Babergh District Council said: "Our council acknowledges the legal challenge lodged by Boxford Parish Council and will now await the outcome of the judicial review.”

Catesby has been approached for comment.

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