Housing scheme at Lakenheath wins permission
- Credit: USAF/ALEXANDER COOK
A long-running bid to build 375 homes and a new primary school at Lakenheath have been granted conditional approval.
West Suffolk Council's development control committee accepted a recommendation to approve the application by the Cobbold family and Pigeon Investment Management for the site on land north of Station Road.
Outline planning permission for the homes was granted on the conditions that 30% of the homes - 112 properties - are affordable.
However full designs for the homes and the school, which will be put forward by Suffolk County Council, will need to be submitted to West Suffolk at a later date.
A full application to build an access road onto Station Road and an entrance to the proposed new primary school was also approved.
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The site covers 22.8 hectares of land currently in agricultural use to the north of Lakenheath.
Lakenheath Parish Council has consistently objected to the plans on several grounds.
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It feels noise from the nearby US Air Force base at RAF Lakenheath would be too severe on the homes.
It also believes there is a lack of an overall masterplan linked to other developments in the area, plus concerns about the impact on the countryside, lack of public transport improvements and oversubscribed health services.
However West Suffolk's public health and housing officers said any development would have to comply with World Health Organisation and British safety standards on noise levels.
A Ministry of Defence noise contour map said the construction site was less affected by aircraft noise than other parts of Lakenheath, particularly those to the south of the village which are closer to the base runways.
Lakenheath Parish Council chairman Edward Morley declined to comment on the approval decision.
The scheme has been on the drawing board since 2014 but has been delayed by a number of issues.
They include an intervention by the then-communities secretary Sajid Javid, and wrangling over habitat laws.
Suffolk County Council had granted planning permission for a new primary school, but this led to an expensive court battle after the parish council objected.
In 2017 the plans were approved by what was then Forest Heath District Council but had to return because of further changes in habitat legislation.