Inquiry into controversial plan for 300 homes in Bell Lane, Kesgrave, to happen again after errors confirmed

The land at Bell Lane, Kesgrave, which is the subject of negotiations to assemble a site capable of

The land at Bell Lane, Kesgrave, which is the subject of negotiations to assemble a site capable of taking around 1,000 homes. - Credit: Archant

An inquiry over controversial plans to build 300 homes in Kesgrave is likely to take place again in the New Year just months after a decision was announced after the Government admitted that errors were made.

Suffolk Coastal District Council’s planning committee rejected an application by Persimmon Homes to build 300 homes on greenfield land off Bell Lane in June last year, prompting the developer to lodge an appeal.

After several delays, the appeal was heard in August, with the Planning Inspectorate dismissing the appeal in October.

However, Persimmon lodged a legal challenge to the findings on November 24, raising a catalogue of issues with the way in which a decision had been reached.

The secretary of state has now confirmed that errors were made, with a High Court order to quash the appeal set to be submitted.

It is understood that the inquiry will have to take place again in 2018, with a timeline expected to be set out next month.

The statement from the secretary of state’s position, said: “There was an error of law in the inspector’s decision in respect of the adequacy of reasoning in this specific case in relation to housing supply. This was a material error and leaves uncertainty as to what central conclusions were reached in this particular case as to housing land supply and what housing requirement should be taken as the basis for assessment.”

A Suffolk Coastal spokeswoman said: “This is a highly regrettable position, the council has taken a neutral view on this and is not in a position to defend all seven grounds of challenge alone.

“Reluctantly we therefore have to accept that the appeal will need to be re-determined and the process for that will likely be confirmed by the Planning Inspectorate in early January. This may require the inquiry to take place again.”

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She added: “The issues at stake here are important to ensure that we plan for and deliver the right homes in the right places and resist those that are not part of our strategy nor linked with the necessary infrastructure to support them.”

Neal Beecroft-Smith, chairman of Kesgrave Town Council which formally opposed the plans following a public meeting in January 2016, said it was “very disappointing” and added: “The town council will continue to fight this application, which it strongly believes is unsustainable.”

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