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Elmsett Hadleigh Road 44-home development recommended for approval despite concerns

Plans for a 44-home development on countryside land near Hadleigh have been recommended for approval by council officers, despite residents’ worries around flooding, loss of green space and traffic problems.

Babergh District Council’s planning committee will decide whether to approve the development of 44 homes on the land east of Hadleigh Road in Elmsett next Wednesday, in-line with officers’ recommendations.

Submission of this full planning application follows the 2018 decision to grant outline planning permission for 41 houses in the same area; this application adds three dwellings and includes further details.

Plans for 44 homes in Elmsett are set to be approved. Picture: Google Maps
Plans for 44 homes in Elmsett are set to be approved. Picture: Google Maps

Across the two applications, a total of 14 comments from nearby residents included 12 objections and two neutral responses.

One response reads: “My concerns are for flooding, which already happens to many gardens in the area already.

“Ours floods even when the neighbour washes his car. Covering the farmland with concrete surely will only make this worse.

“I am also deeply concerned for the wildlife due to the loss of their habitat. Once this farmland has gone, that’s it.”

The proposed site is at risk of surface water flooding but has the lowest risk when compared to the surrounding areas, according to the officers’ report. Officers also believe the proposed surface water drainage scheme would manage surface water run-off.

Suffolk County Council’s Lead Local Flood Authority submitted a holding objection in April but now recommend approval subject to conditions, having gained further information from the applicant.

However, the seriousness of the flooding issue is made clear in a linked application to be heard by Babergh’s planning committee next Wednesday – a reserved matters application for the approved 41 properties.

Officers recommend refusal for this application, on the basis that further details around flood risk and surface water drainage are required but not provided, meaning they are unsatisfied the development would not lead to increased risk of flooding.

In terms of environmental impact, the site is designated ‘countryside’ as it is outside the built-up area of the village, so development should only be permitted if there is a proven need.

While there is no housing needs survey attached to the development, officers believe the need is shown because consulting firm AECOM previously found the site suitable for development and there are no preferable sites within the built-up part of Elmsett.

The report also mentions benefits to the local community through community infrastructure levy (CIL) spending – the local investment developers must provide. CIL contributions for this development would be for secondary school expansion, sixth form expansion and library improvements.

Another resident’s consultation response reads: “The proposed entrance to the development site is directly opposite my property.

“I have no driveway, and my car has sat on the lane outside my property for the last 30 years. There are no lay-bys or other places to park my vehicle.

“The lane is not straight but on an exaggerated bend, sometimes not wide enough for two vehicles to pass.”

Suffolk County Council’s highway authority does not object to the plans, and the report states that any significant impact on the transport network by the development would be mitigated.

To comply with policy, a condition or section 106 would include the widening and re-surfacing of Hadleigh Road, improvements to its footways and kerbs, improved link to the village centre, passing bays on Ipswich Road and Flowton Road, and a new pedestrian footbridge.

A section 106 is a legally-binding agreement between the planning authority and developer as part of planning permission, ensuring the developer takes steps to make the development acceptable.

Of the 44 houses proposed, 15 would be designated as ‘affordable’ – typically meaning they are at least 20% below local market rents.