Council rejects homes to protect Haughley’s heritage

Mid Suffolk District Council has refused outline planning permission for 120 homes to be built in Haughley, citing poor connectivity and harm to local heritage.

Applicant Amber REI Holdings sought permission for the development of a former poultry factory site, adjacent to the listed Haughley Park Jacobean manor house, between Elmswell and Haughley.

This followed a previous application for 149 properties to be built at the same location, which was unanimously rejected by the council’s development control committee in February 2019. Refusal was issued at that time on the grounds of the development being unsustainable and too far away from amenities, forcing residents to travel by car to shops, train stations and schools.

In response to that decision, the applicant made changes to the scheme to try to address concerns previously raised, with a new application for 120 homes being lodged in May 2019.

The council’s chief planning officer used emergency delegated powers to refuse the project today (Friday, April 24), in the absence of regular committee meetings due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Reasons cited include continued concerns about the overall harm caused by the proposed development outweighing the public benefits that may arise from it, plans failing to provide appropriate affordable housing to meet the council’s policies and the site’s poor connectivity to necessary facilities. The impact to the adjacent historical setting was also a significant factor in the decision against the proposal.

David Burn, Cabinet Member for Planning for Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “We want to ensure that the right properties are built in the right places in Mid Suffolk and are currently working with local residents to identify sites for new housing.

“I support the chief planning officer’s decision that this should not be one of these sites. The amendments made to the applicant’s proposal still failed to address the harm to local heritage and the lack of nearby amenities, meaning residents would have no option but to travel by car, which is at odds with our green ambitions.”

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