Villagers seek legal advice over homes

ANGRY villagers are taking legal advice as they step up their battle with a a district council over a controversial planning application for 92 new homes.

ANGRY villagers are taking legal advice as they step up their battle with a

a district council over a controversial planning application for 92 new homes.

People in Walsham-le-Willows, near Bury St Edmunds, are to consider taking Mid Suffolk District Council to judicial review over its handling of the proposals.

The planning application for the homes on the former Elmside Piggeries site was approved in October, but was re-advertised in November as it constituted a departure from the local plan.


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The council has insisted all the proper procedures were followed, but villagers claim no-one was informed of the new notice, and that it was placed well out of sight, discouraging people from making objections until the last minute.

"As this application was a departure from the local village plan, it was re-advertised, but we think that should have happened before it was passed," said resident Eddie Dougall, who has written to the council to complain.

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"There is quite a lot of feeling about this in Walsham. We are irritated and annoyed and feel ignored by the council.

"There is some demand for that sort of housing, but we are to get 92 in a fairly short space of time. The village centre currently consists of 300 houses at the moment, so this is an incredible amount, which will cause a lot of extra traffic. We fear Walsham will be over-developed."

Mr Dougall took his grievances to the Government Office for the East of England (Go East) and has contacted the Local Government Ombudsman but has not had a reply yet.

"We have now taken some legal advice and are trying to gather a case together for the possibility of judicial review," he added.

Gary Pullan, planning control manager at the council, said normal procedure had been followed, and promised the matter would be re-considered by members if many objections were received.

"This is all part of normal procedure, and we have not had any contact from the Ombudsman. The resolution was granted subject to certain conditions on October 27, and whether or not this will need to go back to the committee again depends on what comments come in.

Mr Pullan said: "As officers, we will decide if anything within those comments needs further consideration. A lot of people seem to have seen the notice, as we have received a lot of comments.

"Re-advertising the applications is a regulatory requirement and a formality. We would have a lot more difficulty if we were not doing this."

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