A councillor has branded planning law that led to plans for a business extension within a residential area of Bury St Edmunds being approved as ‘simply bonkers’.
Sicon’s application for a proposed single-storey extension in Abbot’s Gate was granted approval last week, despite having received objections from residents and their ward councillor Sarah Stamp.
The borough council’s development control committee had said it was ‘minded to refuse’ the application because of concerns over highway safety and a lack of parking provision within the site.
But members were recommended to approve it after being warned it was ‘wholly in accordance’ with the county council’s parking standards.
They were also told that refusing it would have exposed the council to ‘significant risk’ of losing an appeal, leaving it vulnerable to paying the associated costs.
Following the application’s success on Thursday, Jane Youngman, product development director at Sicon, said: “We are pleased with the decision and would personally like to thank the few local residents that have supported us throughout this application.
Cllr Stamp said: “This is an excellent example of when planning law can be simply bonkers. Members of the development control committee were not allowed to take existing - and very well evidenced - parking problems into consideration when making their decision.
“This is utter madness when these safety concerns have been publicly acknowledged by Highways Officers and will clearly be made significantly worse by this expansion. I hope Sicon have taken note and will be mindful of the issues and the impact on local residents as they move forward.”
David Godward, a resident of Lydgate Court, said he was ‘pleased’ the application had been decided on planning grounds alone as he believed the proposed additions would be ‘unobtrusive to the adjoining properties’.
He said the problem of vehicles parking in Laundry Lane should be dealt with as ‘a separate issue’.
“The ‘red herring’ introduced by the objectors had nothing to do with the planning application submitted on behalf of Sicon Ltd. A collection of residents of Abbots Gate used this as a vehicle to sort out the parking problems in Laundry Lane and Abbots Gate,” said Mr Godward.
Cllr Trevor Beckwith said: “Sarah Stamp and local residents are right to be concerned about the impact on parking in the area. Having witnessed parking on and overhanging pavements, all we get from officialdom is it meets parking standards. It certainly doesn’t meet mine.
“The real frustration is we are dealing with a new development but still haven’t learnt from past mistakes. Wherever you look, there are parking issues but so long as boxes are ticked, everyone is happy; except, of course, those who have to suffer the consequences.
“Maybe the experts can explain why a retirement complex has no raised pavement outside and why two parking bays are only accessible on a dodgy bend. I certainly can’t and that’s why I voted against it.”