Village voices 'urbanisation' fears as 300 new homes approved

CGI of the plans for 300 homes in Woolpit. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS/HOPKINS HOMES

CGI of the plans for 300 homes in Woolpit - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS/HOPKINS HOMES

Final planning approval has been granted for divisive plans for 300 homes in Woolpit.

Hopkins Homes will develop the land off Bury Road after securing approval for layout, appearance, scale and landscaping by six votes to one at Wednesday’s Mid Suffolk District Council development control meeting.

Agents for the firm said they expect work on site to begin later this year, with first homes being occupied by the end of 2023 and site fully completed by 2029.

James Alflatt from Bidwells, agent on behalf of Hopkins Homes, said: “The scheme is one which we believe represents a sustainable, viable and deliverable solution to bring forward a landscape-led development which has undergone extensive consultation.”

The site of 300 homes in Woolpit. Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL/GOOGLE MAPS

The site of 300 homes in Woolpit - Credit: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL/GOOGLE MAPS

He added that it was a "high quality and sustainable extension to the village of Woolpit, helping fulfil both its housing and the wider infrastructure needs".

The plans proved divisive back in February 2020 when outline planning permission was granted, with the parish council and ward councillor still voicing opposition to the scheme.

Efforts to engage with the parish council were welcomed, as well as confirmation that all homes would use air source heat pumps.

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However, concerns remained that only nine homes would be fitted with solar panels, the car park was in the wrong place and cycle links to Elmswell were not safe enough.

Sixteen of the homes will be bungalows, while the level of designated affordable homes will be 20% rather than the usual 33%.

Julia Ewans, Woolpit Parish Council chair, said: “We are victims of the national and district scramble for housebuilding.”

She added that the "urbanisation of Woolpit" remained a concern.

Under the outline plans, land has been allocated for a new school if it is needed in future, but an additional application must come forward in future if that is to be pursued.

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