Scheme for 133 flats at Station Hill in Bury St Edmunds ‘should be refused’, planners say

Station Hill in Bury St Edmunds, which is being redeveloped.

Station Hill in Bury St Edmunds, which is being redeveloped. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Plans for more than 100 flats near the train station in Bury St Edmunds - an area of the town that is earmarked for regeneration - have been recommended to be refused.

The planning application for 133 flats at Station Hill, which has been submitted by Peal Estates, is going before a St Edmundsbury Borough Council committee on Thursday, but officers have said it should be turned down for reasons including lack of affordable homes and open space.

The site is highlighted in the borough’s local plan, Vision 2031, for redevelopment, and a masterplan for the area has recently been adopted by St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

A number of objections have been lodged over the plans, including from the borough’s conservation team, Suffolk County Council’s highways department, Network Rail and the Bury Society. The officers’ report said the benefits of the development, which also includes retail units, were “significantly outweighed” by the negatives.

It listed a raft of issues with the scheme, including “the significantly adverse impact of the development upon the setting of the Grade II Listed station buildings”, the absence of a mechanism to secure the infrastructure and an affordable housing package from the developer and increased pressure upon open space.

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Simon Bryan, development director at Peal Estates, said: “We are surprised and disappointed by the planning officers’ recommendation to refuse the application to develop Phase One of the Station Hill site, particularly as the masterplan for the development of the site was agreed at the end of June. We believe our application is in accordance with this masterplan. We know that there is a strong desire from local people to rejuvenate this area and we share this vision.

“Despite the planning officers’ recommendations, we hope that members of the planning committee will acknowledge that the development is in accordance with the masterplan and our viability considerations, and move forward with developing this stagnant site.

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“It is further disappointing that earlier this month the Government also set out its proposals to reduce unnecessary delay and uncertainty in developing brownfield sites, of which this site is a prime example.”

Councillor David Nettleton, who is standing in for a member of the planning committee next week, said he had a lot of issues over the scheme that he would be raising at the meeting.

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