Villagers say developer has ‘turned a blind eye’ to their objections to housing scheme
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A developer has been accused of “trying to ride roughshod” over the wishes of villagers by pursuing plans for houses in land identified as a vital “gap” from settlement.
The outline application by company Hartog Hutton for 15 homes in land west of Willows Nursing Home, Bury Road, Lawshall, was refused by members of Babergh District Council's planning committee last year, but the developer is appealing the decision.
Following the officers' recommendation for refusal, the committee members felt the scheme would lead to the loss of a "valued settlement gap" and would therefore be "harmful to the local character of Lawshall village", it would deviate from the established pattern of development in the area and there wasn't a suitable plan to mitigate the flood risk.
The site fronts a 23-acre community woodland and is also next to the Green Light Trust charity's award-winning headquarters building.
Ric Edelman said the adopted Neighbourhood Plan, which he chaired and involved 2.5 years of community and district council work, was being ignored.
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He said: "No-one can accuse Lawshall of being a nimby village - since our plan's adoption, our parish council and Babergh District Council have approved five appropriate small-scale developments.
"But Hartog Hutton has resolutely turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the policies in the plan, and to our objections."
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Hartog Hutton's representative Phil Cobbold was unavailable for comment, but in the case for appeal disputed that the proposed development would have a significant adverse impact on the character or appearance of the area.
He said: "The proposed dwellings would be screened in part by the existing roadside trees and hedges which are to be retained. Any minor impact that did arise would be outweighed by the economic, social and environmental benefits of the scheme."
He also said the planned linear layout fitted in with the predominant pattern of development in the village and suggested a planning condition to ensure that the scheme - which includes five affordable homes - is served by a sustainable urban drainage system.
Mr Edelman said the parish is a series of hamlets and greens divided by open farmland and the settlement gaps were "carefully designed to keep this traditional rural character intact for our children and future generations to enjoy".
A spokesman for Babergh District Council said they would be defending the original decision to refuse planning permission.
A Government planning inspector will make the final decision.