A meeting this week between a planning committee at West Suffolk Council is likely to reject a huge 1,375 new housing project on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds, bordering the Moreton Hall Estate.
It’s set to result in an independent inspector having to decide if the scheme, which covers 78 hectares and is on land next to the A143 and the main rail line between the town and Ipswich, gets the go ahead.
The council’s development committee will this coming Wednesday, June 1, vote on whether to endorse officers’ reasons for recommending refusal of the plans.
Suffolk Highways and National Highways have objected to current designs – and say the volume of traffic generated by the project could affect local roads and the A14 while there has also been 20 public objections with one resident saying it would “destroy” Great Barton by “tripling the size of the village with zero benefits”.
Developer St Joseph Homes Ltd has been negotiating over a solution for two years and offered mitigation action but has now called a halt to the talks – and lodged an appeal over the non-determination of its planning application.
The project would include 413 affordable homes, a new primary school, community centre and shops/businesses.
The principle of development has already been established with the site included in the local plan but its impact on the road network has proved contentious.
Highways say two roundabouts onto the A143 for access to the estate, new foot and cycleway links, and cycle/pedestrian crossings, do not go far enough. They believe more measures are needed to solve potential congestion and knock-on impacts on the A14 at certain junctions.
They conclude it could have a “severe impact” on road safety grounds.
Talks have centred on a new footbridge over the railway line at the Cattishall crossing, measures to address excessive traffic on East Barton Road, changes to the Northgate roundabout to widen the Compiegne Way approach, and junction improvements at the A143/Fornham Road.
Because of the appeal, councillors cannot now make a decision – but officers say they would be recommending refusal, and, if councillors agree, this would be their stance at appeal.
The developers, according to planning documents, have “refused to negotiate” further with Suffolk Highways, over the traffic concerns.