'Pleased but cautious' reaction to winning development fight

Cllr Clive Springett (Right) with residents whom he is fighting on behalf of to stop an 'infill' d

York Road residents with councillor Clive Springett (right) who have been amongst those against the development. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Conservation area residents have said they are pleased but "cautious" over a decision to refuse a controversial "backland development" in green space.

Neighbours in York Road in Bury St Edmunds have been fighting plans for a single-storey home behind numbers 42-45; the second application in recent years looking to build on this garden area.

Leafy York Road is in the Victoria Street Conservation Area, which the West Suffolk Council conservation officer felt would be harmed if the development went ahead.

The planning officer recommended refusal of the plans, which was followed through by West Suffolk Council.

The site in question at the rear of 42 to 45 York Road, which is in a conservation area.

The site in question at the rear of 42 to 45 York Road, which is in a conservation area. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

In its decision the council said the "the proposal would result in a contrived and incongruous form of backland development served by a substandard access within the Victoria Street Conservation Area".

It said: "The proposal therefore fails to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area and to retain important features such as open space and trees and hedges."

It went onto to say there would be loss of natural hedgehog habitat and "there are no public benefits to outweigh the harm identified".

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Deborah Pipe, of York Road, said they were "over the moon" with the outcome, but "cautious because you never know what's going to happen" - such as whether an appeal would be lodged.

She said "the wildlife factor" and also the fauna were really important to the residents.

York Road in Bury St Edmunds Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

York Road in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Google

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Lorraine Bird, of York Road, added: "Urban green space is of great value to the people that live in the town. It’s only right that these back gardens remain intact, not only for the wellbeing of the people that live in these built-up areas, but for the wildlife that lives alongside us."

She said there was enough large development happening in the town without the need for developments such as this on small pockets of open space.

Yolanta Gale, of York Road, said it was "great" to see the council had taken their arguments into account.

She said: "We all used our strengths together - some are more subjective and some more objective - to paint a picture of how that area is and important for the future in terms of sustainability."

The application received more than 30 objections from the public, with the access track and highways safety other areas of concern.

The agent for the applicant was contacted for comment.  

Previously, Dean Pearce, the agent on behalf of the applicants Mr and Mrs Gilbey, said the plans sought "to address the issues raised on the alternative proposal made by somebody else". 

In a statement with the application, they said it provided a "wholly considered, appropriate and bespoke resolution to this unique site". 

This latest planning application came from a different applicant to the one refused in 2019.

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