‘Too big’ housing plan for Great Whelnetham approved

Erskine Lodge, Great Whelnetham ANL-140826-154145009
Erskine Lodge, Great Whelnetham ANL-140826-154145009
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Approving plans for 58 homes in Great Whelnetham will blow St Edmundsbury’s district plan ‘out of the water’, a councillor has warned.

St Edmundsbury’s development control committee today approved the full application for 23 affordable homes at Erskine Lodge and outline permission for 35 more and an adjacent green field site by 10 votes to four.

But before the decision, ward councillor Terry Clements questioned the development’s size and the way local concern had been ‘ignored’.

He said he had suggested only 20 houses in the village and seen Vision 2031, which he said required only 20 per cent of new homes in rural areas, as a way of resisting ‘speculative development’’ But he added: “If you go against the figures we’ve put down you will blow 2031 out of the water.”

However, planning officer Gareth Durrant said the whole site was allocated for development. He added: “This is not a speculative development, it’s responding to the allocation.”

During public comments, Tonie Armstrong, whose home backs onto the site, said: “This proposal is much too large for the village.”

She said village properties would be overshadowed and added: “If you stand in the field you can see directly into our bedrooms and bathrooms.”

Parish council chairman Peter Royce said: “There is no need for a development of this scale in the village.”

A spokesman for the applicants Havebury Housing Partnership stressed the consultation that had been held and said there were no material reason for refusing it.

Cllr Angela Rushton said: “I was disappointed to see a two storey building on top of a hill in a conservation area.”

She said it was back from existing homes, but they were lower than the site.

She, and other councillors, questioned the traffic statement which suggested the development would have no impact on congestion at critical times. Mr Durrant said national criteria had been used to calculate traffic flow

But Cllr Alaric Pugh said the borough needed homes and added: “This scheme is fully compliant and I have to express support for it.”

He moved acceptance, which was seconded by Cllr Peter Stevens who said: “This is a classic case where the development control committee has to take a dispassionate view in line with national and local planning frameworks.

“I don’t think an appeal would be upheld for refusal.”