Residents to fight thousand of new homes

PLANS for thousands of new homes on the outskirts of a Suffolk town have been brought back to the drawing board just one year after they were originally rejected.

PLANS for thousands of new homes on the outskirts of a Suffolk town have been brought back to the drawing board just one year after they were originally rejected.

Developers have launched a bid to build between 3,000 and 4,000 properties on a parcel of land to the east of Bury St Edmunds, between the town and Great Barton.

The Berkley Group has now given details of the proposal to the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA), in the hope it may be included within a plan designed to shape the future of the area up until 2021.

The move comes a year after a scheme for 610 homes, masterminded by the same developers, failed to win a place in St Edmundsbury Borough Council's local plan.


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And although some villagers in Great Barton feel some form of construction is “inevitable” on the land close to their homes, others have vowed to fight it.

“Our views have not changed on this,” said Derek Firth, chairman of the parish council. “The infrastructure just will not support any more houses between Great Barton and Bury.

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“The A143 already carries a lot of traffic down from Norfolk and North Suffolk, and without a bypass for Great Barton that would just increase to the point when it would become completely blocked.

“I see no reason at all why anybody should agree to this, but we would fight it as before - no doubt about it.”

If the plans did win the backing of EERA, community facilities such as schools would be included in the package, along with a bypass for Great Barton and improvement works on the A14.

Fred Rutherford, who lives in the village and spearheaded a campaign for action along the busy A143 three years ago, said residents should capitalise on any potential gains a development would bring.

“When you look at the options for building, we have this sector between Great Barton and Bury which was really calling out for it,” he said. “The rest of Bury has been developed, and it is quite clear that at some time, this land is going to be developed as well.

“My view from the beginning, which I suggested to the parish council, was rather than sticking our heads in the sand and just go with outright opposition, we should seek to work with the borough council and Berkley to get the best deal possible out of it.

“Then, although we didn't want the total outcome, we would have at least had some extent of influence. I think its inevitable that sector will be developed, but if we work with them, there is a chance we can mitigate the worst.

“After all, its much easier to influence friends than enemies.”

A spokesman for the Berkley Group confirmed a package of road and infrastructure works would be included if the plan won backing.

“It is a potential option for development,” he said. “If it were to be included within the East of England plan, then the local council would be required to produce a local plan in conformity with that.”

A spokesman for the borough council said: “We confirm we would need to have regards to the East of England plan.”

The East of England Regional Assembly should make a decision on the plan by late summer.

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