Yoxford welcomes Hopkins Homes’ withdrawal of housing appeal, ending four year planning saga

Yoxford, where the homes would have been built. Picture: MIKE PAGE

Yoxford, where the homes would have been built. Picture: MIKE PAGE - Credit: Mike Page

A Suffolk community is celebrating after developers withdrew housing proposals and ended a four year planning saga that was taken to the highest court in the land.

Hopkins Homes said it would not pursue its application for 26 homes in Old High Road, Yoxford, meaning a fresh planning inquiry will no longer take place.

The news has been welcomed in the village, where there were concerns the homes would cause problems for the cricket and bowls clubs as well as the landscape.

Tim Williams, who spoke against the proposals, said: “This is clearly the right decision, which maintains part of Yoxford’s important historic parkland.

“Residents are happy that their fight has helped ensure that future generations will continue to live amongst three such historic parklands.”

Mr William thanked Yoxford Parish Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) for their support.

SCDC first refused the application in 2013, saying it would have adverse impacts.

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Hopkins Homes’ appeal against the decision was rejected by a planning inspector in June 2014.

Its next appeal to the High Court in January 2015, however, was a success. Three Lords Justice ruled the decision should be quashed, as there had been an error of law.

That decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal in March, 2016. SCDC and East Cheshire Council then appealed to the Supreme Court. The appeal was again rejected, meaning a fresh planning inquiry would have been held. Hopkins Homes’ withdrawal means that inquiry will no longer take place.

Simon Bryan, development director for Hopkins Homes, said the appeals had proved the original refusal had been flawed.

“As a matter of principle, if this had not been challenged it could have resulted in further applications being treated unfairly,” he added. “After carefully reviewing the plans for the development, which were originally submitted in January 2013, we have decided against pursuing this application further.”

Mr Williams said: “I would like to think that Hopkins Homes have respected the views of local people and if that is the case, I welcome this as an example of democracy in action.”

SCDC welcomed the decision, saying its case for resisting the “inappropriate development” had been “strong”.

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