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1,375 homes plan for Great Barton near Bury St Edmunds to go to appeal after councillors back refusal



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Councillors have backed a refusal of plans for more than 1,300 homes north of Bury St Edmunds, which will now go to appeal.

St Joseph Homes Ltd lodged an application in December 2019 to develop 1,375 homes on agricultural land north east of Bury Road in Great Barton - land allocated for around 1,200 homes. New roundabouts connecting the A143, pedestrian and cycle crossings, open space and local centre are also planned.

Negotiations had been ongoing over the highways impacts and mitigation measures but a report by West Suffolk Council said that the applicant had 'declined to negotiate further with the local highway authority'. The developers lodged an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate citing 'non-determination' of the application as the reason.

Masterplan for phase one of the development. Picture: Murdoch Wickham /West Suffolk Council
Masterplan for phase one of the development. Picture: Murdoch Wickham /West Suffolk Council

On Wednesday morning, West Suffolk Council's development control committee unanimously agreed with planning officers' reasons for refusal for the 79-hectare scheme, which will be used as part of the council's defence in the appeal.

The row centres around the highways and transport impacts - Suffolk Highways and National Highways both felt the plans go against national planning policy - specifically around 'unacceptable impact' on road safety and 'severe' cumulative impacts on the road network.

Among those are significant traffic increases and fears that the A143 and East Barton Road couldn't cope, as well as capacity at the Orttewell Road bridge junction.

The land stretches from Cattishall to the A143 and up to Orttewell Road railway bridge. Picture: Mark Westley
The land stretches from Cattishall to the A143 and up to Orttewell Road railway bridge. Picture: Mark Westley

The developers had submitted a package of mitigation measures, but both local and national highways teams said it would not fully address their concerns.

Developers said mitigation contributions to be found amounted to around £700,000, but Suffolk County Council Highways said this was nearer £1.3million.

Maggie Dunn from Great Barton Parish Council said the development will 'create a lot of rat-runs through Great Barton and the Moreton Hall estate'.

A spokesman from planning agents Carter Jonas said that on all other issues the developers and council were satisfied, but it remained 'a matter of principle' over the highways contributions.

"The local highway authority and National Highways in our view have not justified why we should be paying that [£700,000] money," he said.

"We have no choice in our view but to appeal, which is very, very disappointing."

The plans included electric vehicle charging points and a country park buffer zone to the east, but the first phase of 287 homes would be connected to gas boilers.

In its application, the applicant added 'the development to the north east, Bury St Edmunds would create a high quality, sustainable residential development,' which includes 413 affordable homes, play areas and allotments.

A date for the planning appeal is likely to be set for September.