New Erskine Lodge plan is ‘still too many homes for the village’ claims councillor

The  Erskine Lodge  site and nearby land could  be used to add 60 homes to Great Whelnetham ANL-140826-154103009
The Erskine Lodge site and nearby land could be used to add 60 homes to Great Whelnetham ANL-140826-154103009

A new development brief for a former village sheltered housing complex will throw St Edmundsbury’s Vision 2031 plan out of balance if accepted, the ward councillor has said.

Council officers have recommended that the borough’s Sustainable Development Working Party meeting tomorrow should accept the new development brief for Erskine Lodge in Great Whelnetham from Infinity Architects on behalf of Havebury Housing Partnership and Abbeygate Properties.

Their report to the working party says its previous objections have mostly been addressed, but ward councillor Terry Clements says he and the villagers are not satisfied and feel the housing density is still too high.

The working party rejected the last brief a year ago because the density was too high and it was concerned about flood risk and visual impact on the surrounding countryside.

Though the overall density would still be 30 per hectare, against the 20 the working party called for, it would be phased so the currently undeveloped part of the site would have a lower density.

Officers say when detailed planning is done it may ‘render parts of the site undevelopable’ so result in less than the proposed 60 homes.

A ‘sustainable drainage system’ is to be installed and visual impact will be looked at at the detailed planning stage.

But Cllr Clements said today he thought he had agreement for a lower density.

“Now they’ve come up with all these extra ones which would be well outside the 2031 plan and the village is up in arms against it.

“If they get it, it will affect other villages because if you get an imbalance in one village it’s going to throw the whole of 2031 out of balance.

“It’s over development – the village is pushing for homes, but not that many. This would be a disaster for the 2031 plan – it doesn’t hold water if you’re going to blow it out of the water in the first instance.”

He said he was still concerned about surface water run off affecting homes that will be much lower than the nearby A134.

The brief was approved by St Edmundsbury’s Sustainable Development Working Party but it added an amendment that a future planning application will need to explore the potential impact of the development on the junction to the A134 Bury St Edmunds to Sudbury Road and investigate the need and feasibility of providing a pedestrian crossing.

It must still go to Cabinet then full council.