Plans lodged for 279 homes on farmland at Needham Market

Land off Barking Road in Needham Market where plans have been lodged for 279 homes

Land off Barking Road in Needham Market where plans have been lodged for 279 homes - Credit: Google Maps

Nearly 300 homes could be built on the edge of a small Suffolk town if developers can show they have overcome objections to the controversial project.

A consortium of landowners has put forward the proposals for 37 acres of farmland on the south eastern outskirts of Needham Market.

The new plans - deposited with planners at Mid Suffolk Council four days before Christmas - would see 279 homes built to the north of Barking Road, with 100 of them affordable housing.

Planners expect 512 new homes to be built in the town by 2037 and permission for more than 300 have already been granted.

Landowners David Willis, Marlene Perry, and Michael Watson have put forward the outline plans for the land, which is about a mile from the A14.

But it's not the first time permission has been sought for homes on the site - the most recent attempt was refused last year when Needham Market Town Council "objected in the strongest terms" to the project.

Mayor of Needham Market and chairman of the council, Josephine Lea said the council would be applying for an extension to the consultation period because of the Christmas holidays in order to have the time to gauge the views of the public.

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She said the size of the proposed development raised a number of issues and the council wanted to "look after the best interests of the community".

Parker Planning Services Ltd (PPS), for the landowners, hopes that concerns expressed then have now been overcome.

Although the site is not earmarked for development and is technically classed as countryside, the applicants say the site is not isolated and joins the edge of the town.

PPS said: "The site is not ‘isolated’ in any physical or functional sense, lying adjacent to the established settlement of Needham Market and the facilities and services found therein.

"There are a number of core services and facilities available for existing and future residents, including a primary and middle school, doctor’s surgery, Post Office, retail provision and local employment opportunities."

Last time the district council refused because of policy, flooding worries, access issues, loss of the land as buffer between Needham and Barking, and insufficient information on a number of issues.

The town council's concerns included policy matters, worries over extra traffic which would have a "severely detrimental" impact on the historic core of the town, and the need for extra education and health infrastructure. The area already had an adequate housing land supply.

The scheme would feature one- to five-bed homes, with a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced housing, and bungalows, plus open space and play areas.