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West Suffolk: Mixed views over borough council vision for new rural development

PUBLISHED: 09:50 01 June 2014

The Bury Vision 2031 workshop / conference at the Apex.

The Bury Vision 2031 workshop / conference at the Apex.

A parish council in west Suffolk has become the latest group to air concerns about a borough council’s development masterplan.

Stansfield Parish Council chairman Richard Evans poured scorn on St Edmundsbury’s Rural Vision 2031 document, calling it “planning dogma” that would set the borough’s villages go into a “slow but steady decline”.

Mr Evans gave his criticism in the parish council’s annual report, accusing St Edmundsbury of ignoring the wishes of small villages and preventing them from growing in the future.

Mr Evans said: “Communities such as Stansfield should not be wrapped in a planning straight jacket, which in our case rules out virtually any new homes in the future but, instead, should be allowed to evolve as they have done down the centuries.”

However, some of Mr Evans’ peers across the borough – Peter Sanderson from Bardwell and Don Parker from Cavendish – gave more positive appraisals of the Rural Vision, although some concerns remained.

Mr Parker, chairman of nearby Cavendish Parish Council, said: “Nobody’s against the housing, but they’re not satisfied about drainage and other services, because there have been problems.

“The parish council simply wanted some assurance from the council that before this plan was implemented, and drainage and sewage in the areas the housing was proposed was up to scratch.”

Bardwell’s Mr Sanderson said the parish council had voiced concerns about proposed housing developments in the village, which had since been removed from the plan by St Edmundsbury.

A St Edmundsbury spokeswoman said: “The borough’s core strategy in 2010 set out the hierarchy for development. Put simply, major developments will go in the towns where there are most facilities such as shops, schools and leisure opportunities, with smaller developments going into villages which have a smaller amount of these elements which help to make communities strong and sustainable.”

The final consultation for Vision 2031 closed yesterday, with the plan due to be adopted in September.

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