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Residents in Thurston near Bury St Edmunds call for halt on home building until a ‘robust’ infrastructure is in place

Worried residents are calling for an immediate halt on all housing developments in their village.

Residents in Thurston are pleading with planners to ‘put safety and welfare’ first after a raft of planning applications since 2017, amounting to more than 1,200 new homes, have been approved.

A campaign group has been launched calling for a halt on all developments until a ‘robust infrastructure’ is in place for roads, healthcare and schools to meet the growing village needs.

Thurston residents say no more new homes must be built until infrastructure is in place. Picture: Richard Marsham
Thurston residents say no more new homes must be built until infrastructure is in place. Picture: Richard Marsham

Resident Andrew Ridgeon, who launched the Thurston Suffolk: Are You Opposed to Further Development group on Facebook, said: “Our primary objective is to ensure, without compromise, there is no further development within the parish including, approved but yet to commence developments in Beyton Road and Ixworth Road, and under no circumstances any further planning applications considered or approved.

“The latest full planning application for 61 homes west of Ixworth Road must be rejected. We urge people to object.

“The lack of infrastructure, safety and welfare provision to support such high levels of development must be addressed and proved to be workable and robust before any more houses are built. A timeline of five years would be sensible for this.

“This must be before any further medium and large scale housing construction in any form are permitted to proceed, after which any reintroduction of the approved homes should be measured and gradual to allow time for each uplift in habitation to integrate, and for the effects of any further pressures to be assessed and resolved.”

At present, up to 1,248 new homes have been approved in Thurston across seven sites including Ixworth Road, Norton Road, Beyton Road and Barton Road.

Mr Ridgeon added: “I understand £500,000 in developer infrastructure contributions has already been generated from the original five sites and this hasn’t even been used yet, five years later, and here seems to be a lack of cohesion between the district and county council around this.”

A Mid Suffolk District Council spokesperson said: “We are keen to work with our local communities to help shape their neighbourhoods and appreciate their frustration when local decisions to refuse large scale schemes are then overturned at a national level, but for us to implement any delay in determining planning applications or developers starting construction following planning consents, would require a change in law.

“In the meantime, we continue to support infrastructure projects in Thurston to help the village keep pace with housing growth – working with partners to enable a new primary school, college expansion and ongoing work at Thurston railway station through community infrastructure levy (CIL) funding.

“We’ve also awarded money to the parish council for their own projects through Neighbourhood CIL, and further projects are on the horizon pending councillors’ approval.

“We can, however, only work in partnership with others. Health care provision, for example, is not something Mid Suffolk District Council can provide alone, although we would be happy to look at ways in which we could support any plans for Thurston put forward by the NHS and local ICB (integrated care board).

“Similarly, Suffolk County Council is both the local education authority and the highways authority, with responsibility over school places and the safety of our county’s roads. We continue to work with all parties to try to ensure that our growing towns and villages have the facilities they need.”