Bid for 67 homes in Claydon finally approved after five years
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Plans to build 67 new homes in Claydon - which have been in the pipeline for five years - have finally secured planning permission.
Grade three agricultural land east of Ely Road will be developed with the homes, 23 of which will be affordable.
Developers M Scott Properties Ltd first began drawing up plans in 2016.
A first outline application was deferred in July 2018, amid concerns about the cumulative impact of development in the area.
An improved application was returned to Mid Suffolk District Council's planning referrals committee in January this year.
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However, the committee said it was minded to refuse that proposal, citing poor designs and significant concerns about the impact of traffic on homes - both from construction vehicles and longer-term traffic.
Extra traffic is also anticipated for 269 homes off Church Lane nearby, which has secured planning permission.
Further revised plans presented to the committee on Friday were approved by nine votes to three, although councillors expressed reluctance at the decision.
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Committee chairman Matthew Hicks said approval was with "a heavy heart" and added: "We have asked them to go away and come back with changes, and to be fair they have done things we have asked.
"The question is about access to the site, and that access to us feels wrong.
"But I don't think we can turn this down on the reasons of access because we don't have the evidence."
Committee members said that while Suffolk Highways did not raise any objections over a single point of access coming off Ely Road and through the existing estate, lived experience suggested there were frequently cars parked on the road.
In a similar case for 126 homes off Tuffs Road in Eye, which was also refused on access grounds, the Planning Inspectorate overturned the decision because it was not deemed a sufficient enough reason for refusal.
A planning condition has, however, been added that construction traffic does not access the site via the Edinburgh Gardens route.
It was also heard that an adjacent parcel of land which could be developed in future could also create another access point. This would then link up with the new development.
However, councillor Andrew Stringer said: "My common sense tells me there is a demonstration of harm, potential harm here.
"But the evidence I have is absolutely zero from any of the consultees.
"So, as much as I would want the sensible thing to happen, which is this have more than one access, the tiny crumb I’ve got from here is, this site does not preclude the ability to have another access, on the piece of land next door."
The land is listed for development in the emerging local plan, while permission has already been granted for a small portion of land south of the area for nine bungalows.
Since the last application, the developers have revised the number of homes down from 73 to 67, upped the number of bungalows from eight to 10, increased the green buffer zone to the edge, and located the bungalows closest to the existing homes to prevent any overlooking.
Richard Martin, M Scott Properties director, said the feedback from the committee in January had "resulted in a more balanced and generally improved development proposal".
He added: "We believe this application represents a positive development in a sustainable location that will provide benefits for the local area and the district."
John Whitehead, district and parish council ward member, said he and fellow councillor Tim Passmore were "totally underwhelmed" with the negotiated reduction in houses, which needed to be by 25% or more to impact traffic numbers.
Detailed plans on layout, designs, scale and appearance must come forward before any work can begin.