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'Dark cloud' of Ipswich risks swallowing up beautiful village, councillor warns

PUBLISHED: 18:10 16 June 2019 | UPDATED: 23:03 16 June 2019

Babergh's Sproughton and Pinewood councillor Zac Norman. Picture: JAMES CARTLIDGE MP

Babergh's Sproughton and Pinewood councillor Zac Norman. Picture: JAMES CARTLIDGE MP

Archant

Housing growth on the outskirts of Ipswich could cast a "dark cloud" over the identity of a small outlying village, it has been warned.

The government has made clear it opposes mass urban growth effectively subsuming villages into larger areas.

However councillors fear that is exactly what is happening in Ipswich with developments in places like Belstead Meadows, where 135 new homes and a 65-bed care home already have outline planning permission.

Zac Norman, a Conservative councillor whose ward covers Pinewood - where the Belstead Meadows development would take place - said: ""It feels like we're a small village and there's a dark cloud that seems to be encompassing us.

"Mass urban extension is something the government has made clear it opposes, but that's what seems to be happening.

"It's getting to the point where you can't just approve planning applications. There has to be infrastructure before development."

He also warned of the "cumulative impact" on Pinewood of other nearby planned developments, such as 100 proposed new homes at Sproughton.

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He warned that building new homes before improvements to roads and more GP places is like "putting the cart before the horse".

He added: "If public services are not there to look after people who move there, it's a disservice to them.

"We're going to need so much more to address the issues in the area.

"I know money is tight but if it is going to damage us and other areas, it's going to be a hindrance more than anything."

Rural Community Housing Ltd is currently applying for detailed planning permission for the Belstead Meadows development.

However it has been met with strong opposition from neighbours, with some complaining it will "turn a wonderful green space into a concrete jungle".

A public meeting was held by Pinewood Parish Council on Wednesday, June 5, with the authority saying it has "concerns about how this application will impact upon our local infrastructure, our road and also upon our extremely stretched local medical practices".

Mr Norman in particular thinks there should be major improvements to the Copdock interchange to cope with the volume of traffic, which he feels is only likely to get worse if more people are living nearby.

Rural Community Housing Ltd has been contacted for comment.

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