Developer ‘disappointed’ after bid for 49 new homes in Sproughton is rejected

The land in Sproughton which Hopkins Homes lodged plans for development of 49 homes. Picture: GOOGLE

The land in Sproughton which Hopkins Homes lodged plans for development of 49 homes. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Google Maps

Developers say they are “incredibly disappointed” after plans to build 49 homes in Sproughton were rejected because of fears that nearby listed buildings would be harmed.

Babergh District Council planning committee chairman Peter Beer said the committee debated the revis

Babergh District Council planning committee chairman Peter Beer said the committee debated the revised plans by HOpkins Homes but felt the heritage impact still outweighed any benefits. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

Hopkins Homes had brought forward proposals to develop land off Loraine Way on two previous occasions – one for 64 homes a few years ago, and one for 54 homes rejected on heritage grounds in April last year.

It made a revised application for 49 homes in December, with Hopkins Homes saying it would help to address a “clear critical housing shortage both locally and nationally”.

Babergh District Council’s planning officers had recommended approval, but during a three-hour virtual meeting of the planning committee on Thursday morning councillors opted to reject the application by seven votes to four.

The committee felt that despite revisions made since last year to move homes out of potential flood zones, and tweaks to move the homes away from the Grade II listed buildings, the harm still outweighed any benefits.

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Committee chairman Peter Beer said: “We want to ensure that the right properties are built in the right places in Babergh and after much consideration our committee reached a decision that this development would not fulfil this aim – reflecting the view of many Sproughton residents.

“The amendments made to the applicant’s proposal still failed to address concerns about the harm of this development to surrounding listed buildings and there was also a lack of evidence in favour of the need for this housing.”

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Simon Bryan, development director of Hopkins Homes, said: “There is a clear critical housing shortage both locally and nationally that is recognised by all political parties. We are therefore incredibly disappointed by the committee’s decision to refuse the application which had been deemed appropriate, sustainable and recommended for approval by the council’s planning officers.”

The plans received more than 250 objections, as well as calls by the parish council, district councillors for the village and the county councillor for it not to be approved.

The land is not in the emerging local plan as a housing site, with councillor David Busby adding that the village having already doubled in size meant that any housing survey would not be able to find a suitable housing need for development there.

The parish council said a “significant chunk” of the district’s 20-year housing requirement had already been approved for the village.

Helen Davies from the parish council added: “Sproughton Parish Council were pleased with the outcome of today’s Babergh Planning Committee meeting held to discuss an application by Hopkins Homes for 49 houses in the outskirts of the village on a greenfield site.

“This application was originally heard in March’19 and refused on heritage grounds. The rerun today was again met with a refusal on the same grounds – once built the heritage views are gone forever.

“Over 250 parishioners objected to this application reflecting the strength of feeling about this development.

“The parish is not against sustainable development – indeed the parish council with input from some members of the Sproughton Working Group are working on the production of a neighbourhood plan where we hope to be able to specify proportionate and sustainable development to ensure the Sproughton thrives in the future.”

However, planning officers praised the development for including bungalows, as well as providing 17 affordable homes, and the efforts of Hopkins to address some of the concerns raised at the previous refusal.

Neighbourhood plan

Sproughton Parish Council has embarked on work since the beginning of this year to establish a neighbourhood plan, which effectively outlines areas of the village suitable for development.

In comes in response to a wave of planning applications which have besieged the village which means it will already double in size.

Work has commenced on 475 homes near the Holiday Inn while approval has also been given for 30 houses in Church Lane.

Bramford has 190 homes approved while applications for a further 115 in that village and 114 in Sproughton are also still to be decided. Fears have been raised that he village may end up quadrupling in size.

Parish council chairwoman Helen Davies said: “Sproughton is starting the process of trying to claim back some degree of control over the seemingly unregulated development.

“We have seen over the last few months applications approved with little consideration to the input and reactions of residents. Our parish council even in these trying times is pushing ahead with trying to future proof our community assets, landscape and heritage buildings.”

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