Farmland set to be lost in Debenham as developers submit housing plans

Debenham could be set for hundreds of new homes. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Debenham could be set for hundreds of new homes. Picture: SIMON PARKER - Credit: Archant

Developers have submitted proposals for nearly 300 new homes in Debenham – on a site rejected by villagers who fear a large estate could change the community’s character.

Debenham villagers are being asked for their views on development of farmland in Gracechurch Street.

Debenham villagers are being asked for their views on development of farmland in Gracechurch Street. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Taylor Wimpey UK wants to build on a 45-acre area of farmland north of Gracechurch Street – between The Butts and Stony Lane – opposite the high school and sports and leisure centre.

The project submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council would feature up to 295 homes, of which just over 100 would be affordable social rent.

The scheme would include junction improvements on Gracechurch Street, along with open space and a five-acre site for either a future school, community centre or care home.

But villagers who have been putting together a Neighbourhood Plan – a draft of which was published just last month – specifically ruled out the site.

The plan said: “The scale of development has the potential to significantly change the size and character of the village.

“Development would have significant traffic impact along a bottlenecked Gracechurch Street towards High Street. It would have an unacceptable visual impact, and increase the risk of flooding, with surface water from the development discharging at the north end of the village (ie upstream of village centre).”

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The plan has identified three other potential development sites to provide between 112 and 262 properties between now and 2036.

In a statement last year on housing growth, parish council chairman Steve Palframan said: “The number of houses that Debenham will be expected to accommodate over the next 20 years is yet to be determined, but is likely to be a minimum of 75, and potentially more.

“We will continue to strive to ensure that the community’s wishes are at the heart of any decision making undertaken, and the community remains at ease with itself.”

Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd said a series of Place Shaping meetings had been held with district planners to discuss the principal of development at the site, and potential impacts, including landscaping, flooding, highways, community and education matters. The vision for the site was to create a sensitively designed and high quality place which complements the character of Debenham and helps meet housing needs.

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