Babergh District Council today refused full planning permission for 49 homes to be built in Sproughton, citing harm to heritage and a lack of proven justifiable need.
Applicant Hopkins Homes sought permission for the development of land to the east side of Bramford Road, also known as Loraine Way.
This followed a previous proposal for 54 properties to be built at the same location, which was unanimously rejected by the council’s planning committee in April 2019. Members resolved to refuse on the grounds of harm to the setting of listed buildings near the site.
In response to that resolution, the applicant made changes to the plans to address concerns raised about flood risk and heritage issues, with a new proposal for 49 homes being submitted in December 2019.
A site visit was carried out by planning committee members in February 2020, with a decision originally scheduled for last month. This was delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak prohibiting face to face meetings, resulting in the council’s planning committee meeting virtually for the first time today.
Despite recommendation that permission should be approved subject to conditions, following input from planning officers, the applicant, objectors and supporters - and subsequent debate - the committee voted by seven to four to refuse outline planning permission.
Reasons cited included continued concerns about harm to nearby heritage. Another significant factor in the decision against the proposal was that members felt the circumstances of the application and proposed development were not exceptional and were without a proven justifiable need, contrary to planning policies CS2 and CS11.
Cllr Peter Beer, Chair of Babergh District Council’s planning committee said:
“We want to ensure that the right properties are built in the right places in Babergh and after much consideration our committee reached a decision that this development would not fulfil this aim - reflecting the view of many Sproughton residents.
“The amendments made to the applicant’s proposal still failed to address concerns about the harm of this development to surrounding listed buildings and there was also a lack of evidence in favour of the need for this housing.
“I am pleased that aside from a few technical glitches our first virtual meeting went well and would like to thank both committee members and Democratic Services for adopting this new way of working, enabling us to continue making crucial planning decisions during this challenging time.”