210 more Thurston homes granted approval while decision on a further 210 homes is deferred
Thurston Parish Council blames a ‘failed’ planning system in Mid Suffolk for approving housing developments it says will put people’s safety at risk.
On Wednesday, Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning referrals committee granted approval for a 210-home development and deferred a decision on another 210-home proposal – on top of the 818 homes already approved and in the process of being built in Thurston.
The first scheme for 210 homes on land south west of Beyton Road by developer Bloor Homes was approved while the second – also for 210 homes, by Gladmans Developments on land to the east of Ixworth Road – was deferred.
Thurston Parish Council said if both proposals were approved the village would effectively double in size, while the developments went against the principles in its recently adopted Neighbourhood Plan.
It says the village has winding roads, narrow bridges, junctions at or close to capacity, no GP surgery and infrequent buses to facilities.
“No significant investment in infrastructure has or will occur as a result of these developments despite a doubling in the size of the village,” said the parish council.
It adds Mid Suffolk is relying on developers to provide road improvements as cheaply as possible that can be maintained cheaply – but which do not address the environmental and safety requirements of the village.
Potential road problems include:
n The bridge by the railway station putting pedestrians and cyclists at risk
n A narrow single-track bridge with no pavement over the railway line at Thedwastre Road – a route from one development to a proposed new primary school.
Steve Button, Thurston resident, said an additional 410 homes would stretch the village to ‘breaking point’.
“What concerns me even more is the sweeping statements in the applications, such as ‘a package of measures to improve the roads’, which in actual fact refers to putting a bump on a mini roundabout, which is next to a narrow bridge and is already a massive pinch point,” he said.
“How is it possible to effectively double the size of a village in a few short years, without putting in place some significant improvements to the infrastructure?” he said.
“I understand many small measures have been put forward, but these are nothing more than ‘tinkering’, and a wholesale proper plan needs to be put into effect.”
Richard Fawcett, of Thurston Parish Council, said at the meeting: “We believe the implications of the decision taken today will have an impact not only on Thurston but also all the other communities in Mid Suffolk – much wider than this decision.”
Keith Towers, a Thurston resident for 30 years, said at the meeting: “The presumption in favour of development at all costs is very concerning and very damaging to the fabric of the village and the lives of its residents.”
More by this authorCamille Berriman