Long Melford: Probe into planning complaints over bid for 51 new properties by David Wilson Homes
- Credit: Archant
A council investigation is under way after complaints were made about the way officers at Babergh handled the application for the 51-home development in Long Melford.
To support growth, authorities receive a grant from the Government under the New Homes Bonus Scheme for every new house built.
Some villagers, who openly expressed their concerns at the annual parish meeting, have accused the authority of colluding with developers and not doing enough to defend the planning committee’s decision to refuse the scheme.
On the second day of the public inquiry into the application, Babergh dismissed William Richards, the planning law specialist it had appointed to formulate the case against the development.
The council said this was on the grounds he had failed to inform David Wilson Homes the hearing was being recorded.
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Mr Richards was replaced by Babergh’s planning chief, Christine Thurlow, who had overseen the original planning report in support of the scheme.
One of the committee’s two reasons for refusing the application had also been removed from the final report without further consultation. At the parish meeting, members of the action group opposing the development urged Long Melford Parish Council to write to Babergh demanding an independent inquiry.
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Last night, a Babergh spokesman said: “Babergh District Council is aware of a number of totally unsubstantiated but serious allegations made against various members of our staff.
“We are currently concluding an internal investigation into some of the issues raised but, guided by the principles of openness and transparency; we feel that the most damaging allegations need to be referred to the police for their consideration.
“We have repeatedly advised the parties making these allegations to contact Suffolk Constabulary immediately and we will co-operate fully in any investigation.”