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West Suffolk's planners have ‘let the town down badly’, Newmarket Town Council told

Newmarket town councillors have hit out at a district authority’s planning department, with one branding them ‘inept’.

The town council’s planning committee was reacting to a letter from West Suffolk Council officers responding to its concerns about a development in Granby Street.

Developers had been given the go-ahead by West Suffolk officials to build a bungalow in a disused car park despite the objections of residents and the town council, and has allowed the build, which breached planning conditions, to continue.

Newmarket's memorial hall. Picture: Mark Westley (40855112)
Newmarket's memorial hall. Picture: Mark Westley (40855112)

Cllr Michael Jefferys, Newmarket’s mayor, told the committee on Monday: “When a decision like this happens it just reflects so badly on West Suffolk Council, and you tend to lose any faith in what West Suffolk Council are trying to do.

“You come to believe they don’t care about Newmarket, that it’s peripheral to what they’re doing, and such decisions go through with hardly a whisper against them.”

And committee vice-chairman Chris O’Neill said it made the district’s planning department look ‘inept’. “I think it’s ridiculous and they have let Newmarket down badly,” he said.

Last month, town councillors demanded the planning authority explain why the controversial bungalow plan was allowed.

Rachel Almond, the service manager in West Suffolk, told town councillors they’d had a number of complaints from residents and a planning officer had been to the site to inspect it.

She told them enforcement was discretionary and that technical breaches or those able to be resolved through another submission would not justify stopping works.

Ms Almond added they had reminded the developers of their obligations again after continued reports of breaches to regulations ruling when they could start work.

A similar proposal for the site had been turned down twice before in 2016 and 2017.

Barley Close residents will be overlooked by the new development and on Monday homeowner Nicola Saunders joined other householders to once again raise their concerns about the development.

“The proposal was for a single-storey building,” she said. “It is a five-metre building with loft windows going in so there is no intention of this being a single storey.” She described it as an ‘eyesore’ which towered over her driveway.

The council agreed to contact the enforcement officer to demand they attend the site again.

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