"Lost control of the planning system" - procedure hampering council from halting Sproughton and Bramford expansion
PUBLISHED: 09:26 08 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:26 08 April 2019
The vast expansion of rural villages surrounding Ipswich is "inevitable" according to two council leaders, as five miles of the Gipping Valley is inundated with applications.
A series of separate planning applications have been submitted along Sproughton, Bramford and Great Blakenham totalling between 1,500 homes and 2,000 homes, and could see villages in the area quadruple in size.
Campaigners have voiced fears that the villages are being asked to cope with too much too quickly, and the infrastructure cannot cope.
During a decision on 195 homes in Bramford at Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee last month, councillors expressed concerns that their hands were being tied by procedure.
Councillor Jessica Fleming said during the meeting: “We all feel the cumulative impacts on the area are not being taken into account but the planning system seems to be against us.
“Local people and local authorities have lost control of the planning system and as uncomfortable as that may be it seems that’s where we are.
“I think the entire valley is being degraded by encroaching development.”
Ward councillor John Field added: “The Gipping Valley is an area that is suffering quite a lot of development, and one totally appreciates people need places to live. But there are questions about where and just what extent.
“It is clear there are quite dramatic changes in this area.”
There are currently no neighbourhood plans in the area which can help direct development, while work on a joint local plan for Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils has been pushed back until after the elections.
In a joint statement, Babergh and Mid Suffolk council leaders John Ward and Nick Gowrley, said: “It is inevitable that we will see significant growth here as it is the Ipswich fringe and lies along the A14, with good access to Cambridge and, via the A12, to Colchester and London.
“The new joint local plan will have a focus on development around the urban fringes and main transport corridors, although most of the future development in Sproughton will be inside the A14 and thereby separate from the core of the village itself.
“By having a joint local plan we can ensure that it provides a blueprint not just for specific locations in each district, but also for cross-border planning in this critical area.
“We don’t think the delay to the joint local plan has influenced the timing of these applications: both districts can demonstrate five-year land supplies and therefore our current policies, along with the NPPF [National Planning Policy Framework], will provide the criteria for determining planning applications.”