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Development proposals connected to existing Long Melford estate could 'ruin lives' of neighbouring homes, opponents claim

Opponents of new village housing plans – including building a new road through an existing estate – say they have “the prospect of ruining the lives” of neighbouring properties, if approved.

Criticisms are building in Long Melford against an outline planning application for five self-build homes on land east of Meadow View, off High Street – a paddock site subject to numerous development proposals over the years.

The plans, which were originally for nine homes, also seek to demolish an existing four-bedroom home at 6 Harefield, to allow for the creation of a new access road to the site.

Harefield in Long Melford. No6 is due to be demolished allowing for an access road for more houses to be built in the area..Pic - Richard Marsham/www.rmg-photography.co.uk. (46623936)
Harefield in Long Melford. No6 is due to be demolished allowing for an access road for more houses to be built in the area..Pic - Richard Marsham/www.rmg-photography.co.uk. (46623936)

But residents have raised fears about severe disturbance to nearby homes, excessive traffic, pedestrian safety issues and potential environmental harm, adding that revisions submitted this month did nothing to address these concerns.

Harefield resident Barry Plum, who lives next door to the house proposed for demolition, said the access road would bring vehicles to within inches of his home, risking property damage and causing major privacy issues.

He explained he had complained to Babergh District Council’s planning department, arguing there had not been an adequate site visit to assess the negative impact of both the proposed homes and access road.

“Sorry, but we deserve better than this,” Mr Plum told the Free Press. “The whole process has been so badly managed, you would not believe.

“It’s quite a horrendous planning application. This is an estate that was built in 1950s and ‘60s, and they now want to knock number 6 down and bring through all the construction traffic and resulting occupants through this track.

“We will have no protection. For us personally, this development would be 35 inches from our living room and two main bedrooms.

“The revised plans have added bushes to the roadway, but what good are a few bushes when we’ve got refuse lorries and delivery trucks coming down the side of our house?

“This one-road estate will become a cut-through to these homes and we feel that’s just not right. Everybody on the estate we’ve talked to ... there’s not one person who supports this.”

Mr Plum added he was worried that, if the proposals for five homes were given the green light, it would open the floodgates for future applications that could add even more homes to the site.

More than a dozen other Harefield residents have also taken to Babergh’s online planning portal to register their objections.

In addition, Long Melford Parish Council lodged its unanimous opposition, stating the plans were not in keeping with the neighbourhood plan, while the loss of the paddock would have an adverse effect on wildlife.

Local councillor Richard Kemp, who oversaw the construction of the Harefield estate 60 years ago, argued the proposals would amount to “a form of vandalism” to the area.

“In recent times, I have been involved with a lot of neighbourhood plans,” he said. “According to various experts, the plans have a value before final adoption.

“The Long Melford Neighbourhood Plan is now 90 per cent complete. This application is not included, so how can that plan be totally ignored?

“If this application goes ahead, it will be a sad day for local democracy, and will destroy what little faith is left in the planning system.”

Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for the environment, Liz Malvisi, who also represents Long Melford, stated she objected to the development “in the strongest possible terms”.

“The destruction of a meadow will have great negative affect on the biodiversity of the immediate area and of the village,” she said.

“We are working to reduce the impact of climate change through biodiversity and this flies in the face of this policy.

“There is no need for this development and it was not identified in the Long Melford Neighbourhood Plan, when a call for sites was issued.

“The demolition of number 6 Harefield will harm the landscape of the Harefield development as a whole.

“It will harm the wellbeing and remove the entitled quiet enjoyment of the residents at numbers 5 and 7, respectively.”

The district council’s heritage and design officer, Dr Jonathan Duck, also said the proposed site layout would result in harm to the Grade II-listed Hill House located nearby, as well as the wider conservation area.

However, a planning statement in support of the application claimed the new homes would deliver social and economic benefits to the village, with the occupants of the properties contributing to local employment and the community.

It suggested the use of renewable technologies in development, plus proposed ecological enhancements, made the plans environmentally sustainable, while contending that impacts on heritage assets would be minimal.

“These benefits are considered to go a significant way to offsetting any limited environmental harm that may be considered to occur,” the statement reads.

“As such, any harm would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the scheme, where the delivery of new dwellings would contribute to the district’s housing supply,” added the statement.

To view the plans, click here and use the application reference code DC/20/05175.

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