Decision made on 146 homes plan near Stowmarket
- Credit: Archant
Plans for 146 homes that will extend the edge of Stowmarket towards Onehouse have been approved by a casting vote.
Proposals by Endurance Estates Land Promotion Ltd and Paul Barnard to develop land off Union Road adjacent to existing development for 300 homes by Hopkins Homes were approved by Mid Suffolk District Council's development control committee on Wednesday morning.
Those proposals were deferred from January after more information was requested on the landscape impacts and whether more homes could be designated affordable.
The plans returned on Wednesday where four councillors voted in favour of outline approval while four voted against. Committee chairwoman Kathie Guthrie's casting vote secured outline planning permission for the developers.
The council's policy aims to secure a third of homes on a development site as affordable, but the Union Road plans only included 21%.
Financial contributions for libraries could be reduced to provide more cash for affordable homes on other sites, but no change was made to the 21% (31 homes) affordable designation.
Planning officers said further conversations with landscape consultants indicated that it would have a "limited" impact, but conditions were added to the planning approval that advanced planting is agreed and it accords with a landscape context plan.
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Councillor James Caston said its location on the edge of Stowmarket made it a sustainable application, and added: "There is good connectivity.
"I cannot see many more places in Mid Suffolk more viable than the edge of Stowmarket."
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Councillor Barry Humphreys said he understood the concerns of locals but there were no planning reasons to justify turning it down, while Kathie Guthrie added: "I do think this site will be allocated if not today then tomorrow, the next day or shortly thereafter".
Other concerns to emerge out of the meeting were the flooding on nearby roads and whether development would exacerbate that, and the loss of buffer space between Stowmarket and Onehouse village.
Nicky Willshere, parish council chairman, said: "It hurts the visually important space between Onehouse village and the urban development of Stowmarket which has been an important part of all the development plans to date."
She added that 146 homes "would be far in excess of what would be considered reasonable for us , or any, hinterland village".
Ward councillor John Matthissen questioned why a development for fewer than 35% affordable homes should be accepted for the "limited advantage" the development will bring.
Robert Barber on behalf of the developers said they had "worked closely with officers and statutory consultees to respond positively," and developed both a vegetation plan and landscape context plan.
As plans are only outline, a further application on the designs, layout, scale and appearance - which will include landscaping measures - must be approved before work can start.