Mid Suffolk District Council has approved outline planning permission for 80 houses in Stowupland, provided that the scheme delivers affordable homes for low income house-hunters, a pedestrian crossing at a traffic blackspot in the village, and brings an important local green space into community control.
Gladman Developments Ltd had originally sought permission for 70 properties to be built on the land to the south of Gipping Road, but this was rejected by the council’s planning committee in January 2020, as councillors felt the adverse impact of that scheme outweighed the benefits.
The amended plans came back to a Planning Referrals Committee meeting, held virtually to ensure public safety during the current coronavirus outbreak.
Following input from planning officers, the applicant, councillors and subsequent debate, the committee voted by eight to seven in favour of approving the recommendation that outline planning permission be granted, subject to conditions.
Proposals include 28 ‘affordable homes’, 20 of which will be affordable rental properties, allowing residents to benefit from lower rents than the local market rate. The remaining eight homes will provide opportunity for shared ownership, helping those struggling to get on the housing ladder to buy their own home. Both the affordable and marketable houses will range in size, accommodating first time buyers, families and local residents wishing to downsize.
The development will fund vital local highways infrastructure projects, contributing £50,000 towards junction improvements on the B1115 and A1120. A new controlled crossing on the A1120 will also be funded by the applicant, with the committee requesting an additional condition to guarantee that the developer brings forward the design for a safe crossing promptly, and makes it available for use prior to the first occupation of the new homes. This safety measure, on a road which has been the site of numerous traffic accidents involving pedestrians, will benefit the whole community, including local schoolchildren who walk this route on their way to and from Stowupland High School.
Another condition set out by the council, will see Gladman Developments gift nearby Thradstone’s Meadow, a large area of currently unprotected amenity land, to Stowupland Parish Council, securing community use of this locally important green space for years to come. A payment of £75,000 will be made by the applicant to fund the maintenance and management of this land for 25 years. There will also be further public open space, including children’s play equipment, to the north of the site.
Cllr Kathie Guthrie, Chair of Mid Suffolk District Council’s Planning Referrals Committee said: “This was a difficult decision on an application which offers many community benefits over the original scheme, but has been met with some opposition from local residents. After much consideration – and taking into account recent planning appeals on similar applications elsewhere – we believed it difficult to find grounds for refusal, providing the applicant meets the conditions set out.
“The development will provide affordable housing within walking distance of the village for those on lower incomes. It will also fund a much-needed controlled crossing, benefitting all local residents and ensuring pedestrian safety in Stowupland, meeting our ambition for more sustainable transport options for our communities.
“Our council remains committed to working together with our towns and parishes to find the best solution in delivering new growth, and is appreciative of the efforts of Stowupland residents in developing a neighbourhood plan, used to shape development in the village to date. Whilst the application site is just outside of the settlement boundary, there is a requirement to significantly boost housing supply, with future needs not being fully accommodated by the plan. In the absence of significant harms, and demonstration of compelling community benefits, the committee had no option but to approve this application.”