Date set for planning inquiry into plans for 300 homes off Bell Lane, Kesgrave

The land on Bell Lane, Kesgrave, which is the subject of negotiations to create 300 homes. Picture:

The land on Bell Lane, Kesgrave, which is the subject of negotiations to create 300 homes. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A four day planning inquiry into controversial plans to build 300 homes off Bell Lane in Kesgrave will begin next month, after developers appealed the decision to reject the proposals.

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s planning committee rejected plans for the development in February last year, but didn’t rule out looking at a fresh proposal that was “properly planned” for more than 1,000 homes.

Persimmon Homes appealed the decision, which has now been called in for review by the Planning Inspectorate at Whitehall, with the developer suggesting in January that a revised 300-home bid would be submitted in the meantime.

On Tuesday, April 25, a four-day inquiry will begin at Suffolk Coastal’s offices in which evidence and submissions will be heard.

A Suffolk Coastal District Council spokesman said: “Over the four days the inspector will hear opening submissions, evidence from expert witnesses and cross examination by the council and appellant’s barristers.

“The inspector will also allow members of the public and the town council to speak, emphasising any concerns which they would have already made in writing in January.

“The final day of the inquiry will include closing submissions from barristers and a site visit.”

Kesgrave Town Council outlined its opposition to the plans following a public meeting in January last year attended by more than 100 Kesgrave residents.

All of the town’s schools also objected to the plans.

Among the concerns raised were saturated GP surgeries and schools, the ability of Bell Lane to cope with the additional traffic and the designation of the land as green space in the local plan.

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While the inquiry is due to last four days, a final decision from the Planning Inspectorate is not expected until two-four months after the inquiry has finished.

Martin Davidson, land director for Persimmon Homes Anglia, previously said: “The original scheme for 300 dwellings could be designed to facilitate such larger proposals if ultimately deemed appropriate.

“Such a larger scheme would also take some 2-3 years to prepare, even if all landowners were on board.

“Appealing the application enables the suitability of the site to be determined by a totally independent expert, based on national and local policies.”

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