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Suffolk Coastal planning chief 'excited' after inspector's decision indicates stronger position on housing

PUBLISHED: 20:05 12 March 2017 | UPDATED: 20:05 12 March 2017

East Suffolk House at Riduna Park, Melton - home of Suffolk Coastal District Council. Picture: RUTH LEACH

East Suffolk House at Riduna Park, Melton - home of Suffolk Coastal District Council. Picture: RUTH LEACH

A Suffolk planning authority, whose historic shortcomings have left it vulnerable to developers, appears to have strengthened its position - to the delight of council chiefs.

Tony Fryatt, cabinet member for planning at Suffolk Coastal District Council, says he is 'excited' by the decision. Picture: SIMON PARKERTony Fryatt, cabinet member for planning at Suffolk Coastal District Council, says he is 'excited' by the decision. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Tony Fryatt, who is responsible for planning at Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC), said a recent appeal decision, which backed the authority’s policy, represented “the first time I’ve been excited in a number of years”.

Planning Inspector Zoe Raygen refused the appeal to build nine new homes in Woodbridge Road, Bredfield, upholding the council’s original decision made last year.

In her decision notice, issued this month, she made specific reference to a key SCDC planning document which she said “can be given full weight”.

It represents a marked change in fortunes for the planning authority, which has seen many of its decisions successfully appealed in recent years. Developers argued the district was not delivering enough housing, meaning its plans should be considered out of date. Major housing developments, such as Fairfield Road in Framlingham, had been refused by SCDC but approved on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, with frequent reference to the district’s “lack of a five year deliverable land supply”.

Other planning defeats incurred for similar reasons included proposals for 180 new homes in Woods Lane, Melton, as well as a smaller development in Yoxford.

More recently, however, Suffolk Coastal claims to have achieved its five year target.

And in the latest decision, Ms Raygen said that although the appellant questioned whether SCDC can demonstrate a five-year deliverable land supply she could see “no substantive evidence” to dispute the council’s position.

Mr Fryatt used the beginning of SCDC’s latest planning committee meeting to alert his fellow member to the decision.

“I got very excited about it,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve been excited in a number of years.”

Mr Fryatt said the decision confirmed the inspector had “taken on board” the recent developments in the council’s planning position. “I think that’s very relevant point for us and we should take not of what she is saying,” he added.

Planning committee chairman Debbie McCallum and Phillip Rowson, development manager, also welcomed the decision.

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