Concern in Capel St Mary over plans for 519 new homes
- Credit: Paul Geater
Parish councillors from Capel St Mary are up in arms about proposals to build another 519 homes in the village without improving its services and road network.
And they are also frustrated at being told by Babergh they only had a month to comment - meaning it cannot be discussed by the whole parish council - although the district accepts the proposal to develop Capel Grove is unlikely to go before planners until next year.
Babergh has now said it is prepared to wait until after the next parish meeting.
A group of parish councillors have discussed the plans and sent a letter to Babergh, signed by chair Christine Matthews, expressing concern about the size of the development and the lack of proposed facilities for the village as part of the application.
It says: "The size of the proposed build is far too big and there are very relevant concerns about the affects such a large number of new homes and residents will have on the existing and already overstretched services.
"The enlarged population will bring added pressure to village infrastructure at all levels, drainage, sewage, education, medical, recreational and social while providing little in the form of enhanced facilities except for a modest expansion of the playing field leaving the only positive aspect the boost to village shops' business but with already extremely inadequate car parking provision.
"There seem to only be plans to build, build, build irrelevant of the consequences."
Mrs Matthews said the parish had organised an open day for villagers at the community centre to show the plans on August 14 -- but the next meeting was not until September 13 which is after Babergh's deadline for comments.
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She said: "They have said the proposal probably will not be discussed by the planning committee until next year, so why can't they give us more time to come up with an official response?"
A spokesman for Babergh said: "Although there are no statutory maximum timescales for consulting on an application, we must balance meeting the Government’s expectation for us to process applications in a timely manner with seeking comments from the local community.
"We aim to allow enough time for this feedback to be carefully considered by our planning officers when assessing applications and if appropriate to seek more information or changes to what is proposed taking into account any matters which are raised.
"In this particular instance, Capel St Mary Parish Council has been aware of this housing allocation for some time, with it having been included in our publicly available draft Joint Local Plan, allowing further opportunity for them to gather their thoughts on proposals.
"We will, however, extend the time for the parish council to submit their formal comments to us shortly after their next meeting on September 13 – demonstrating our ongoing commitment to ensuring that everyone can have their say on new homes in our district."