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Public inquiry to decide 175-home development in Stowupland begins

PUBLISHED: 10:15 27 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:15 27 April 2016

Stowupland village sign

Stowupland village sign

People in a Suffolk village have been assured their voices will be heard as part of an inquiry which will decide whether a 175-home development should be given the go ahead.

Stowupland Village Hall yesterday hosted the first day of the public inquiry after an outline planning application for the scheme on land north of Church Road and south of Gipping Road in the village in November was refused by Mid Suffolk District Council.

The appeal was made by Gladman Developments Ltd

About 100 people attended the first day of the inquiry, which is scheduled to last two weeks.

A similar application for 190 homes on the same site by the developer had also been appealed, but was withdrawn ahead of the inquiry.

However, inspector Paul Jackson said formal proceedings may finish this week, which will be followed by a site visit.

When listing the main issues surrounding the appeal, which include the proposed development’s impact on the character of the area and the effect on listed buildings near to the site, Mr Jackson said: “There are many matters of concern to many people.

“I want to hear about all of those and will decided whether they deserve to be a main issue.”

Satnam Choongh, who is speaking on behalf of the appellant, said during his opening statement: “The purpose of this inquiry is whether residential development is OK on a matter of principle.

“This application for housing is being brought forward in a district that cannot give a five year land housing supply.”

Mr Choongh said he noted from proofs of evidence that Mid Suffolk only has a 3.3 year supply, adding: “This shortfall can’t be described as anything but significant.”

He also said there was no up to date development plan and a “pressing need” for housing in the district.

Representing the local authority, Richard Ground QC, told Mr Jackson how the impact on listed buildings and the character of the area was a “powerful reason” to reject the application.

Mr Ground said: “This site is part of the setting of five listed buildings there is a duty for the secretary of state to have special regard to the protection of listed buildings.”

He mentioned Columbine Hall, which he said is recognised in planning policy as a “building of more than special status” would also be affected by the development, and claimed it would damage its significance.

He added that views of the village church would be “shut off” and that there would be a great harm on the open, rural views in the village.

It is expected that residents will be given their chance to talk about the proposed development tomorrow.

The public inquiry continues today.

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