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Bury St Edmunds plans for relief road and up to 485 homes on land off Newmarket Road are refused

Long-running plans for a 485-home development and a relief road in Bury St Edmunds have been rejected due to concerns over its proximity to a village and highway safety.

Pigeon Investment Management Ltd, on behalf of Pigeon (Bury West) Ltd, submitted a hybrid planning application for 24.2ha of land, off Newmarket Road, which was identified in 2014 in the Vision 2031 blueprint for housing.

The scheme included the construction of a full relief road including new junction works with Newmarket Road, Westley Road and Hill Road, Westley; drainage basins next to the relief road as well as pedestrian and cycle connections from the relief road onto Newmarket Road.

The Bury West relief road plans. Picture: Planning, Heritage, Design & Access Statement for land at Bury West, produced by Turley for Pigeon Bury West Ltd
The Bury West relief road plans. Picture: Planning, Heritage, Design & Access Statement for land at Bury West, produced by Turley for Pigeon Bury West Ltd

Outline permission was also sought for the construction of up to 485 homes including open space, landscaping and associated infrastructure.

It followed a previous application in March 2019, which did not include a full relief road due to ownership of the land.

A West Suffolk Council report on the current plans said they were submitted last summer without initial discussions with the authority.

Officers wrote to the applicant in November asking a series of questions but no formal answers were given and a number of time extensions were agreed.

In March, the council received an email requesting amended details be submitted and the applicant believed the entire relief road was not needed.

Council officers declined to accept the amended plans as they were ‘fundamentally different’.

In a refusal notice published today, West Suffolk Council said the development would not protect the identity of Westley as it was too close to the village and encroached significantly into a designated buffer.

It said the plans failed to demonstrate that they would not have an unacceptable impact on highway safety and would not result in cumulative severe impacts on the transport network.

The design of the relief road was not considered acceptable as it was too close to Westley and too wide.

The application failed to demonstrate the residential element of the proposal represented good design.

The decision followed concerns from Westley Parish Council that the plans did not provide an unequivocal guarantee the relief road would be delivered in its entirety alongside any construction of housing.

West Suffolk Council received 33 responses from residents raising issues over the proximity of the relief road, parking issues, loss of amenity, traffic and pollution.

James Buxton, chairman of Pigeon, said: “We are of course disappointed at West Suffolk Council’s decision.

“Our planning consultants are now considering the reasons for refusal and will advise us how to respond in due course.”