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Elderly homes project gets approval

PUBLISHED: 14:59 30 January 2002 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 March 2010

HOTLY-contested moves to build a sheltered housing scheme for the elderly in Stutton were given the green light today as councillors voted unanimously in favour of the proposal.

HOTLY-contested moves to build a sheltered housing scheme for the elderly in Stutton were given the green light today as councillors voted unanimously in favour of the proposal.

The plans for 38 flats for the elderly on land off Bentley Lane will now be referred to the Secretary of State for deliberation.

The proposal to build the scheme on a Greenfield site on the edge of Stutton had divided the village and was put on hold at the end of last year when protesters claimed not enough effort had been made to find alternative sites.

Babergh District Council's head of planning control, Richard Watson, told the meeting today that more than 30 sites had been looked at. Twenty three of these including Clench House, Holbrook, HMS Ganges site, Shotley and Ipswich Road also in Holbrook, were previously investigated by the project team and re-assessed in the light of strong opposition to the Stutton proposal. Others had been put forward by protesters themselves.

However, the team concluded that Stutton remained the optimum location for the scheme. Backing the report conclusions, councillor David Woods said that while he had every sympathy with the objectors he "remained convinced that the positive points outweigh the negatives".

He read out a letter signed by 20 residents of Clench House which said that they had found some of the comments made by objectors "very degrading and lacking in understanding" and that they believed the proposed scheme would greatly benefit and enhance the quality of their lives.

Some of the protesters had expressed concerns over elderly people with dementia causing problems.

Ardent protester Dr John Mellis, damned the project team report as "completely self serving". He said: "The report rejects every alternative in the main villages on predefined grounds such as geography which means that good sites in Brantham and Shotley are rejected because they are not in Holbrook and Stutton. Availability, which means good sites in Holbrook are rejected because they are not cheap. Locality, which means excellent and available sites in Holbrook, Brantham and Chelmondiston are rejected as not being close to facilities even though Stutton has no local facilities at all."

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