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Council defends decision to reject plans for 300 homes in Kesgrave at planning inquiry

PUBLISHED: 19:36 08 August 2017 | UPDATED: 19:36 08 August 2017

Suffolk Coastal District Council had rejected plans for 300 homes on land east of Bell Lane in Kesgrave. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk Coastal District Council had rejected plans for 300 homes on land east of Bell Lane in Kesgrave. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sarah Lucy brown

Suffolk Coastal District Council has defended its decision to reject a controversial application for 300 homes in Kesgrave on the first day of a planning inquiry.

Ben Woolnough, the council’s major projects advisor, told planning inspector Paul Clark yesterday that the council’s decision to reject plans for homes east of Bell Lane was correct, describing the project as ‘unplanned’ and ‘speculative’.

He told the inquiry the council was already achieving its targets for housing in the area and that the scheme contradicted its ‘planned strategic approach to growth’.

He claimed housing stock had increased significantly in recent years, including the recently completed Grange Farm, and was set to increase further with their commitment to deliver up to 2,000 homes at Adastral Park in Martlesham.

He added the relatively small number of homes would not warrant the large investment needed for suitable road infrastructure in the area and that the lack of footpaths and connectivity to other areas of Kesgrave would make it hard for the new community to integrate.

“The harm outweighs any benefits resulting from the proposal and there are no other material considerations which suggest that this development should otherwise be allowed,” he said.

Representing the council, barrister Harriet Townsend added: “The infrastructure required to support the development of 300 houses in this location is not in place.

“One of the key benefits of a plan led system is the timely and well planned sustainable delivery of necessary infrastructure and it is absent here. These issues underline and reinforce the principle objection to the development as being contrary to the Development Plan.”

Representing applicant Persimmon Homes, Sasha White cast doubt on the way the application was assessed by the council. He pressed Mr Woolnough on how the decision had been made, arguing the identification of harm was judged by whether it strayed from the Development Plan.

He said: “Anything in favour of the proposal you have ignored and the only thing you consider in any way is what you judge to be a breach by the proposal.”

The inquiry is expected to continue until Thursday.

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