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Boxford Parish Council seeks judicial review against planning permission for 64-home development




A formal legal challenge, aiming to overturn permission for a major housing development in Boxford, has been submitted by village councillors, who believe the plans failed to conform to planning policy.

Boxford Parish Council announced this week it will seek a judicial review of an application by Catesby Estates to build 64 homes on land east of Sand Hill, which received the green light from Babergh District Council last year.

The application was a revised version of earlier plans for 80 houses on the same site, which had been rejected in 2018.

Weavers Green, Boxford, Catesby Estates artist's impression (28359376)
Weavers Green, Boxford, Catesby Estates artist's impression (28359376)

But at a parish council meeting last week, members voted unanimously to instruct solicitors to pursue a quashing order on the outline approval decision, claiming Babergh’s planning committee had been misdirected on several key issues.

The challenge states the development conflicts with the draft Local Plan and would create road safety issues, citing an independent highways study which suggested the proposals would be unsafe.

It also stated the promised community benefits were insufficient, arguing that a section 106 agreement attached to the planning permission – setting out the developer’s financial contributions to infrastructure – did not match information given to Babergh planners last June.

Weavers Green, Boxford, Catesby Estates artist's impression (28359371)
Weavers Green, Boxford, Catesby Estates artist's impression (28359371)

Julian Fincham-Jacques, chairman of Boxford Parish Council, said: “The parish council has supported local housing for local people and has helped to deliver a number of schemes in recent years.

“The approval given to an out-of-area land agent does not address that need, as the quota of affordable housing in the scheme will be available to many thousands of people in many other council areas.

“It is not local needs housing so will not benefit local people. The outline approval flies in the face of the draft local plan and will create worrying road safety issues within the village.

“Suffolk County Council has now admitted that the footpath link provided for may not conform to that approved at the meeting, so we are dumbfounded that both Babergh and SCC have got this so wrong, to the extent that there is a legal case for the setting aside of the planning decision.”

The parish council confirmed that, if its request for a judicial review is allowed to move forward, an application for a cost-capping order will be made, to limit adverse costs to £10,000, in the event the challenge is unsuccessful.

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