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Calls for ‘modernised’ planning process amid fears developments will overwhelm village

PUBLISHED: 05:30 31 March 2020

Three major developments in Wherstead shown here include roadside services, a housing development and business park. Picture: GOOGLE EARTH

Three major developments in Wherstead shown here include roadside services, a housing development and business park. Picture: GOOGLE EARTH

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In one small Ipswich village, more than ten planning applications have been submitted in 18 months including a McDonalds, petrol station, business park and a major housing development.

Fiona Loader is a member of the Wherstead Parish Council. Picture: FIONA LOADERFiona Loader is a member of the Wherstead Parish Council. Picture: FIONA LOADER

Wherstead Parish Council are calling for the planning system to be modernised to allow the cumulative impact of all the applications to be taken into consideration, as they fear that the high number of developments could overwhelm the small village.

MORE: McDonald’s, 75 new homes and a business park could all be coming to Wherstead

Fiona Loader, a member of the council, is concerned about preserving the environment of the village as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and said: “We have a great sense of responsibility to protect the landscape and that does colour our view.

“These many developments will change the very fabric of the village.

Three major developments in Wherstead shown here include roadside services, a housing development and business park. Picture: GOOGLE EARTHThree major developments in Wherstead shown here include roadside services, a housing development and business park. Picture: GOOGLE EARTH

“The planning system needs to be modernised before it is to work, as it is currently at odds with the rest of the local planning process.

“We as a parish council are here to give that balance of opinion, but it cannot be heard if the cumulative impact isn’t considered.”

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A spokesman for Babergh District Council said: “There is an expectation for us to decide applications on their individual merits, but this does not preclude us taking into account the cumulative effects on local infrastructure on a case by case basis.

“We are confident that the constructive dialogue already taking place will enable the community to make its views known and the planning authority to give thorough consideration to these matters when the applications are determined.”

Specific concerns about the numerous developments include increased traffic, particularly where the A137 meets the Strand creating a pinch point, and the works to create a new roundabout for the planned roadside services off Bobbits Lane.

There are also fears that the Bellway estate of 75 homes will massively increase the village population, which is currently less than 400.

Robin Coates, another member of the parish council, said it would be naive to ask for the system to completely change - but said a more “holistic” approach is needed.

“It would be beneficial for us for these applications to be considered as a whole,” he said.

“We have worked well with Babergh District Council planners and they have facilitated contact about concerns.

“I’d like to say ‘yes the planning system should change’ but it is difficult to practise.”


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