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More than 800 homes set to be built in Thurston

The development sites are drawn in red. 138 homes was later reduced to 129 through a twin-tracked application
The development sites are drawn in red. 138 homes was later reduced to 129 through a twin-tracked application

Plans for more than 800 new homes in Thurston have been given the go-ahead, despite fears the village’s infrastructure, including road and rail station, will not cope.

Planning applications by four developers were granted permission by Mid Suffolk District Council (MSDC) planning referrals committee on Wednesday afternoon.

Councillors heard that a fifth application for 175 homes south of Norton Road by Hopkins Homes, had already been granted on appeal by the national planning inspectorate on Monday.

The developer had lodged the appeal after Mid Suffolk planners had not dealt with it within the 13-week statutory period, but had been be ‘minded to approve’.

At the seven-and-a half hour meeting, four further applications by developers Persimmon Homes, Pigeon Capital Management, Laurence Homes and Bovis Homes were approved.

Persimmon plans for 250 homes west of Ixworth Road, was granted outline approval as was Pigeon’s plans for 200 homes also on land at Norton Road.

Both applications came with an offer of land for the development of a new school site, with Norton Road being the preferred planning committee option.

Laurence Homes’ application for 64 homes on land at Meadow Road was granted full planning permission as was Bovis Homes’ plans for 129 homes west of Barton road.

Bovis Homes had twin-tracked a second application after an earlier committee meeting had been ‘minded to refuse’ an earlier one for 138 homes, due to design.

In total, 818 homes were approved with a condition added to each application that concerns are addressed relating to safety at the rail station, where passengers currently have to use an ungated foot crossing over two tracks to get to the Cambridge-bound platform.

The village currently has around 1,400 properties, with a further 97 homes currently being built at the Granary, opposite the rail station.

MSDC does not currently have a five-year Housing Land Availability Policy, nor Local Plan, which affords more power in the face of developer applications.

Vicky Waples, clerk to Thurston Parish Council, called for a more robust infrastructure development plan to be in place, urging rejection of all applications until this time.

“We understand you are under pressure from the government, the officer and the developers to push ahead, however, it is not the right thing to do and we believe you know that in your conscience,” she said. “Now is the time to stand up and be counted and do what the people who put trust in you voted for.”

Thurston resident Cllr Derrick Haley, who is chairman of MSDC, said:“I am not sure people have listened to the community and instead listened to the government. All the arguments are well rehearsed on every application.

“I cannot comprehend what you, as councillors, have done to my village. It is something that will be remembered by the community for many years to come.”

A spokesperson for the Parish Council said later they had been ‘bitterly disappointed’ by the planning decisions.

The meeting also heard the village has no GP surgery.

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