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‘Disgust’ as 700 homes are agreed for Thurston village after eight-hour debate

PUBLISHED: 18:47 13 July 2017 | UPDATED: 18:47 13 July 2017

The size of Thurston is likely to grow by more than 50% as a result of the new developments. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The size of Thurston is likely to grow by more than 50% as a result of the new developments. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Combined developments of around 700 homes in a mid Suffolk town have been granted approval, subject to conditions.

Combined developments of around 700 homes in a mid Suffolk town have been granted approval, subject to conditions.

Thurston could grow by more than 50% after four out of five applications for the north of the village were granted “minded to” approval by Mid Suffolk District Council.

The decisions came at one of the lengthiest planning committees in living memory, after nearly eight hours of debate.

Derrick Haley, Thurston ward councillor, said the community will continue to fight the developments, which objectors said will risk lives on local roads and destroy the rural character of the village.

The developers claimed their “considerable” combined mitigation programme totalling almost £20million, will benefit the community as a whole.

The applications provide two alternative sites for a new primary school, which would replace the existing oversubscribed school.

Councillor Esther Jewson, ward member for the village of 3,200 people, said: “It will change the face of Thurston forever, without the proper support mechanisms in place.

“The community...will have to live with the consequences, such as Pokeridge Corner becoming a death trap.”

Many members who voted through the applications cited the lack of a five-year housing supply, with one apologising as they warned there was more to come.

Derrick Haley, Thurston ward member, said: “We are not against development, but this is far too much. They only care about numbers and housing targets. I am disgusted by the decision.”

All five applications are set to come back to committee, after members demanded more information and work on road and railway safety and congestion issues.

Matthew Hicks, chairman planning committee, said: “These five applications represent a considerable growth for Thurston and the committee was very aware of the implications and held a long and detailed discussion and debate.

“Each application was judged on its own merits and while the committee judged some to offer positive growth and much needed new infrastructure, the application on Barton Road was considered to be unsuitable and unsustainable.

“These judgements are only reflections of how the committee are minded to decide these applications with the evidence available: we will be returning to these applications when more evidence, including on highways and rail safety in Thurston, is submitted.”

The applications were decided as follows:

• Minded to approve votes for outline permission at Hopkins Homes for 175 houses off Sandpit Lane, 200 and a school on Norton Road from Pigeon, 250 and a primary school site from Persimmon Homes on Ixworth Road

• Minded to give full permission for 64 from Laurence Homes, off Norton Road

• Committee members were minded to refuse 138 homes from Bovis Homes off Barton Road

• 100 homes have existing permission on the Granary Site

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