New homes approved at edge of Akenfield village

'Akenfield' set for 20 new homes. Photo from the Peggy Cole Collection

'Akenfield' set for 20 new homes. Photo from the Peggy Cole Collection

Developers have been given conditional go-ahead to build 20 new homes in a Suffolk village used as the setting for 1974 film Akenfield.

Suffolk Coastal District Council granted outline permission for 14 open market properties and six affordable homes to be built off St Peters Close, near the Three Horseshoes pub, in the village of Charsfield, near Woodbridge.

Charsfield Parish Council objected to the application, arguing that infrastructure in the village was inadequate to cope with a development of such scale.

The parish council said in its objection that the anticipated population swell would result in a “vast increase” in traffic.

Other concerns included the development’s perceived impact on the character of Charsfield, the risk of surface water flooding, and light pollution from street lamps. It said that a protected species survey had failed to identify a slow worm population on the site.

Suffolk Preservation Society also objected based on the site’s position outside the physical limits of the village, where planning policy suggests development should only take place where there is proven local support, and on a scale appropriate to the size, location and characteristics of the community.

But planning officers reported that proposed access would form a link to the village, and that the site was both sustainable and suitable.

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Although the project received 11 letters of objection, it also attracted seven letters of support arguing that new housing would bring in families and young people, and “keep the village alive”.

The village was famously used as the backdrop for Peter Hall’s film, based on the book by Ronald Blythe and acted out by real-life villagers of the time, including author and MBE recipient Peggy Cole.

A detailed layout of the site will now have to be submitted by developers, with particular focus on the design and scale of the buildings.

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