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Onehouse development plans are deferred




A decision on whether to approve 146 new homes in a rural Suffolk village has been pushed back after councillors said they were not convinced there were enough details on measures to prevent impacts on the landscape.

Mid Suffolk District Council’s development control committee on Wednesday had been recommended to approve outline plans for 146 homes in Onehouse, near Stowmarket, put forward by Endurance Estates Land Promotion Ltd and Paul Barn, but instead deferred a decision to a later date.

Councillors said more information was needed on mitigation measures to prevent harm to the landscape and rural character of the area, and pushed for an increase in the number of affordable homes as only 21 per cent was proposed (31 homes) instead of the target 35 per cent.

Two schemes for homes on a plot of land in Onehouse have been put before councillors within the same application. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS (43858057)
Two schemes for homes on a plot of land in Onehouse have been put before councillors within the same application. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS (43858057)

Councillor Andrew Mellen said: “The affordable housing we need to look at again and see if we can get a better percentage out of the developer, and the landscaping and visual impact and whether we can improve that as well.”

The land, which is grade two agricultural land south of Union Road, sits adjacent to an existing development by Hopkins Homes being built out currently directly to the west of the edge of Stowmarket.

But the Onehouse site has split opinion.

Councillor Barry Humphreys said the location was right because it was “adjacent to a current location being developed” and “has good access to Stowmarket” but ward councillor John Matthissen said: “The parish historically has been very concerned to maintain a strategic gap between the village and the town, and that is eroded somewhat by this development.”

The issue of flooding also emerged, as well as the cumulative impact of traffic from the developments.

Nicky Willshere, chairwoman of the parish council, said it “would appear to be far in excess of what would be considered reasonable for our hinterland village” and added: “The local residents are acutely aware of the detriment to the local countryside and the wellbeing of local residents”.

However, Robert Barker, agent for the developers, said it would “secure deliveryof the site which has been identified by the council as a sustainable and suitable location for housing development since 2013,” which would deliver high quality homes. He added that it “will form a sustainable and logical extension to the urban area of Stowmarket.”

The developers will now provide additional information to officers before it returns for a decision in the future. If outline permission is then approved, a final application with matters such as layout and design will then be required before work can begin on site.

The plans emerged in May last year as an unusual either/or application, with the other proposal featuring 17 fewer homes and a new care home instead.

The latter option was dismissed as the NHS couldn’t service a care home, according to planning officers.