Developer Pigeon puts forward plans for hundreds of homes on land to west of Bury St Edmunds
Plans have been submitted for two major developments to the west of Bury St Edmunds including nearly 500 homes and the potential for a drive-through McDonald’s.
Developer Pigeon has drawn up a hybrid application for up to 485 homes and a part relief road on land off Newmarket Road.
Meanwhile, 90 jobs could be created in a separate proposal from Euro Garages Ltd for a roadside service facility on vacant grassland off Newmarket Road next to junction 42 of the A14 – with the possibility of a drive-through Starbucks and a drive-through McDonald’s.
The hybrid proposals for the ‘Bury West’ site have been mooted for years with a community consultation in January and February but the parish council for the nearby Westley village say their feedback has been ‘ignored’.
Chris Anderson, chairman of Westley Parish Council, said although they were not opposed to the homes, the village and Bury St Edmunds were ‘promised a full relief road’ connecting Westley Road with Newmarket Road in St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s blueprint for growth, known as Vision 2031.
But due to availability of land, the plan would see the construction of a part relief road including new roundabout access on to Newmarket Road.
There is a policy requirement for the relief road for this strategic allocation and the local planning authority will assess the merits of the application that is before us - West Suffolk Council spokesman
“It’s a moot point because it isn’t actually a relief road, it’s just a road that will serve the houses,” he said.
“It’s essentially a cul-de-sac which serves a housing estate but doesn’t provide the relief road that’s promised.”
Mr Anderson added that the plan failed to deliver on Vision 2031’s pledge to ‘maintain the integrity of Westley’ as the relief road was ‘too close to the village with an insufficient buffer zone’.
Mr Anderson said they had given this feedback to Pigeon previously but they had been ‘ignored’.
Cllr Clive Springett, who represents Minden ward in which part of the site falls, said the relief road was ‘fundamental’.
Pigeon was approached for comment but a design and access statement from agent Turley said the scheme delivered the first phase of the relief road in full on land owned by Pigeon.
“Financial provision for phase two will be secured through an application planning obligation, for use when the land becomes available to enable the full length of the relief road to be delivered, thereby providing traffic relief to Westley,” it said.
It added: “A mixture of informal recreational spaces; children’s play areas and woodlands will provide landscaped setting for the proposed scheme and maintains the identity and character of Westley.”
Responding to residents in Oliver Road, it said there was an opportunity to build bungalows on the eastern boundary of the site next to the properties in Oliver Road.
Land to the north west of the site is reserved for a proposed health campus.
In a statement of community consultation, Pigeon said: “It is understood from the feedback received that there is a reasonable level of support for this scheme.”
A West Suffolk Council spokesman said: “There is a policy requirement for the relief road for this strategic allocation and the local planning authority will assess the merits of the application that is before us.”
Plans for Euro Garages’ roadside service facility include a drive-through restaurant, which is earmarked as a McDonald’s; a drive-through coffee shop, illustrated as a Starbucks; a petrol filling station with a shop as well as 118 car parking spaces, five HGV spaces and two coach spaces.
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In a planning statement, agent PWA Planning said: “It is anticipated that the scheme will deliver the equivalent of 90 full-time positions.”
The site is designated as ‘countryside’ within the former St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Local Plan, which continues under West Suffolk Council.
A planning application to turn part of the land into a pub/restaurant was refused by the borough in March 2017 and an appeal was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate in March 2018.
The planning statement for the Euro Garages application cited a landscape assessment, which said that ‘although within open countryside, this is an urban fringe site that is physically and visually contained on all boundaries; so that it has a very limited relationship with the surrounding countryside and is more associated with the highway infrastructure’.
A spokesman for EG Group said: "EG Group is one of Europe’s fastest growing and most recognisable forecourt operators and we are now planning to bring our modern roadside offer to Bury St Edmunds – ideally located adjacent to Junction 42 along the A14.
"Along with a drive-thru coffee shop, restaurant, petrol station and ancillary retail unit, we are also proposing to deliver electric charging infrastructure to support the roll-out of electric vehicles in the UK.
"The proposals will create around 90 new jobs in a range of full and part-time roles with opportunities for further education and training.
"Our plans also represent a multi-million pound investment, creating many more jobs through construction and the supply chain."
More by this authorPaul Derrick