Villagers say large estate will have ‘tremendous impact’ on community

Debenham is under pressure over housing proposals Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Debenham is under pressure over housing proposals Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

More than 120 people have objected to proposals to increase the size of Debenham by one-third with the addition of nearly 300 new homes.

In addition the parish council, and those of neighbouring villages, have lodged strong protests amid fears that the large estate will spoil the beauty of the area and create traffic problems on its already troublesome and narrow roads.

A public meeting was attended by 370 residents, who voiced a range of concerns – along with worries that if the project is approved it could lead to a further 300 homes on adjoining land.

Taylor Wimpey UK wants to build on a 45-acre area of farmland north of Gracechurch Street – between The Butts and Stony Lane – opposite the high school and sports and leisure centre.

The project submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council would feature up to 295 homes, of which just over 100 would be affordable social rent.

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The scheme would include junction improvements on Gracechurch Street, along with open space and a five-acre site for either a future school, community centre or care home.

Villagers have just spent five years creating a Neighbourhood Plan (NP) which recommends 84 and 167 new homes to be built in Debenham by 2036.

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Debenham Parish Council said the district’s five-year land supply crisis had left the village vulnerable to developers.

The council said: “The need for development in Debenham is undeniable, however it should be in appropriate sites in terms of size, mix, access, sewerage facilities, highways considerations, flood risks, etc to name but a few, all of which are extremely important.

“The proposed development will not improve the economic, social and environmental conditions in the area. The adverse impact of granting permission would significantly outweigh the benefits. Such a considerable development would not only have a tremendous impact on the village of Debenham but also all the neighbouring villages.”

It asserts that the project does not accord with many of the existing relevant planning policies and is against the NP, and it contains no proposals which would mitigate or improve any of the ongoing concerns over traffic, parking and general infrastructure, such as doctor’s surgery and school provision.

The council is also concerned at the impact on the two main routes through Debenham – Gracechurch Street and the High Street – which it says cannot realistically be improved and to place additional pressure on this area would be “extremely challenging”.

“Businesses already struggle with the limited parking for patrons and children on this route to school already have to play Russian roulette with impatient or inconsiderate drivers,” said the council.

Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd has said the vision for the site was to create a sensitively designed and high quality place which complements the character of Debenham and helps meet housing needs.

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