Committee defers decision on Boxford homes
Babergh District Council’s planning committee today voted unanimously to defer a decision on outline planning permission for 64 homes – ensuring concerns raised by Boxford’s community about proposals will be investigated further.
Applicant Catesby Development Land Limited sought permission for the development of land to the East of Sand Hill, with a site visit carried out by planning committee members in September 2019.
This followed a previous proposal for 80 properties to be built at the same location, which was rejected by the council’s planning committee in autumn 2019. Members refused on the grounds of the development being unable to meet local policies on various counts – including failing to meet a community need to develop outside the settlement boundary.
In response to that resolution, the applicant made changes to the plans to address concerns raised, with a new proposal for 64 homes being submitted in January 2020.
The amended plans came before planning committee in June 2020, at which time members voted by seven to three in favour of approving the recommendation that outline planning permission be granted, subject to conditions.
However, following legal challenge from within the local community earlier this year, the application was brought back to today’s planning committee meeting for further consideration.
Although proposals bring many benefits, such as 22 affordable homes and substantial public open space, committee members recognised that there was still considerable opposition to plans due to potential highways issues arising from the development and voted to defer the application on this basis.
Whilst the local highways authority, Suffolk County Council, lodged no objection to the development, councillors reached a consensus that it was best to seek a further objective opinion from an appropriately qualified independent highways consultant, to address continued concern locally about highways impacts and mitigation.
This will allow the highway aspect of the application to be thoroughly reviewed – providing opportunity for mitigation works to be explored, while also determining what impact this may have upon the nearby Conservation Area.
The committee also resolved unanimously to ask the Chief Planning Officer to review the risk assessment and mitigation measures appropriate to facilitate a site visit by members.
Once these reviews have been undertaken, plans will come back before committee – enabling members to make an informed decision that provides confidence to the community that their concerns have been taken into account and investigated accordingly.
Cllr Peter Beer, Chairman of Babergh District Council’s planning committee said:
“Our committee acknowledged the opposition from the local community when originally making the difficult decision to approve the application last year, however at that time we believed the extensive benefits of proposals outweighed any potential harm.
“Since then, concerns have continued to be raised within the community about the highways impact of the scheme, and we believe it is now right to safeguard public confidence in the planning process by thoroughly looking into this before our committee reaches a final decision on these plans.
“Today’s decision to defer proposals demonstrates our council’s continued commitment to ensuring that any planning application is in the best interest of our communities, whilst also allowing our residents to live in affordable and high-quality homes that enable them to build settled, safe and healthy lives.”