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Housing plans knocked back as 1,600 residents sign petition

PUBLISHED: 07:30 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 07:52 02 April 2019

The view across Poplar Hill with the Grade I Listed Church of St Mary, whichcommunity members said would be ruined by the development of any homes Picture: IAN CLARK

The view across Poplar Hill with the Grade I Listed Church of St Mary, whichcommunity members said would be ruined by the development of any homes Picture: IAN CLARK

Ian Clark

Villagers are fighting a controversial application to build 138 homes on a field overlooking a historic church near Stowmarket.

The proposed site for the housing development in Poplar Hill, Stowmarket  Picture: GOOGLE MAPSThe proposed site for the housing development in Poplar Hill, Stowmarket Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The plans for Mill Mount Field at Combs have been proposed by Gladman Developments Ltd, who failed to get a previous application to build 160 homes at the same location past Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee in September of last year.

Those plans had been strongly opposed by the local community and a campaign group called Save Mill Mount Field managed to secure 1,500 signatures from community members.

Despite the original plans scheduled for appeal in July, a second application has been submitted causing further outrage in the community.

This time, the campaign group has gathered 1,600 signatures, and on an online portal for comments on the plans, 256 people have posted a note with 254 objecting to the plans. None of the comments supported the project.

Desiree Shelley, chairwoman of the Save Mill Mount Field Network (SMMF), said: “Having gone door to door about the plans I think I can safely say that the vast majority of the community are outraged by the plans.

“We do not want a single house on the field.

“It is just that this site is so special to residents of Combs. I’ve had residents in tears just at the thought of the field being built on.

“That view is the first you see when you drive into Combs, it would be disastrous if it was taken away from us.”

The concerns that were raised in the objections include the impact on the landscape and the Grade I listed Church of St Mary and the effect it would have on roads and the development reducing the separation between Stowmarket and Combs.

The site can only be reached by Poplar Hill, a narrow road.

David Whybrow, district councillor for Ringshall said: “In my opinion this is a bad application aimed at exploiting the faults in out planning system.

“The plans would ruin what is a really important visual break between Stowmarket and Combs.”

The planning statement submitted by Gladmans said it “responds sensitively to the site setting” and would create an “attractive development while minimising any potential harm”.

The firm has been approached for comment concerning the fresh objections.

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