Melford homes scheme gets green light from planners
A 44-home development on a controversial site in the centre of Long Melford is to go ahead after planners gave the scheme the green light.
Members of Babergh’s planning committee backed the proposal for the former Fleetwood Caravans site, which is in the centre of the picturesque Suffolk village.
A previous application by David Wilson Homes for 51 homes on the land was vehemently opposed by local people who set up a protest group to fight the plans.
Babergh’s planning committee rejected that scheme on the grounds of pedestrian safety and the decision was upheld at appeal by the secretary of state following a three-day public inquiry. The new application submitted by property company SB2 Long Melford Ltd went before the district council’s planning committee last week and, despite ongoing concerns about access to the site, it was approved.
In addition to the 31 open-market homes, the development will include 13 sheltered units which the previous application did not have. The scheme has 68 car parking spaces for the 31 homes, with nine visitor spaces and 17 for the sheltered homes.
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Jayne Lines, chairman of Long Melford Parish Council, said: “There are fewer houses in this development which is a good thing, but the access issues have not been resolved.
“Only last week, I had to go into the Cock and Bell car park to turn around and I got blocked in by a delivery lorry for 20 minutes, so I was late for an appointment.
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“However, the council has passed the application now so we will have to live with it.”
In her report, Babergh case officer Kathryn Oelman said the internal layout of the new development was “safer” than the previous one and that the highway safety impacts had been carefully considered. Babergh councillor John Nunn, who last year sent a questionnaire to villagers asking what they would like the site to be used for, said he shared the ongoing concerns about access and that “only time would tell” if the right decision had been made.
He also said any development on the site should have been “employment led”.
He added: “The developers have addressed a lot of our concerns about the layout of the site and the number of houses, and they have pulled out all the stops to come up with what looks like a very good development on paper.
“Had we not opposed the first application so strongly then we would have ended up with an inferior development on that site.”