Anger as 210 homes given green light after 8 hours of debate
PUBLISHED: 19:00 31 January 2020
Villagers are seeking legal advice on how to prevent future developments in their community after plans for a further 210 homes were approved.
Those living in Thurston claim the village is already set to grow after five other applications were granted permission last year, with work now underway on a total of 800 homes.
They had hoped the new bid - submitted by Bloor Homes for a site south west of Beyton Road - would be rejected as the land had not been identified as a potential housing site in their Neighbourhood Development Plan.
Yet officers recommended it for approval and after eight-hour long meeting on Wednesday, members of Mid Suffolk District Council's planning referrals committee voted for the scheme with seven votes to six, and granted permission.
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A second application, put forward by Gladmans Developments for another 210 homes on land to the east of Ixworth Road, was deferred for further work on highways analysis at key junctions and an update on plans for the rail station improvements.
Thurston Parish Council were represented at the meeting and objected strongly to both applications.
A spokesman from the parish council said: "Following advice from its own planning officers, Mid Suffolk District Councillors felt that the draft Joint Local Plan for Babergh Mid Suffolk, which is at an early consultation stage and with no date for its adoption, had more weight than the Thurston Neighbourhood Development Plan, which they themselves had adopted and which had been supported by over 95% of those voting in the Thurston community.
"Villages throughout Mid Suffolk must now be asking what is the point of years of work when in one afternoon councillors destroy confidence in both them and the neighbourhood plan process."
Brian Rainbow, Vice-Chairman of Thurston Parish Council, attended the meeting and believes that the neighbourhood plan is still "fit for purpose".
He said the council will seek legal advice so they can explore how the their plan might be "strengthened in the light of counsellors attitudes" should any further applications be submitted.