Final approval on plans for 150 homes in Long Melford's Station Road granted after 'major improvement' to proposals
Final planning permission has been granted for 150 homes in a Suffolk village after developers returned with improved plans.
Babergh District Council pushed back a decision in July on the final matters around landscaping, scale, appearance and layout on proposals by Bloor Homes to develop land east of Station Road in Long Melford, known as Skylark Fields.
That was over concerns about the impact on the area’s character, the number of four bedroom homes and green measures.
Revised proposals returned to the council’s committee on Wednesday morning where they were unanimously approved.
Committee member Peter Beer said: “What they have now come forward with is a major improvement on the previous one.
“We set out that we weren’t happy with what Bloor was putting forward, we were in touch with what people were thinking and feeling, we knew what was needed and they have listened and taken it on board to a certain degree.”
Among the changes made are provision of wildflower meadows, an increased number of solar panels, use of the Suffolk pink colour in the area, and a revised look to homes at the entrance of the site to include timber arches and flint.
Original proposals featured 51 four-bed homes, 28 three-bed and 18 two-bed, but the number of four bed homes has now reduced down to 40, with four extra three-beds and seven more two-beds to better meet demand in the village.
Alex Clark, design and technical director with Bloor, said: “We firmly believe that significant progress has been made with the scheme.
“We have reduced the number of four bedroom properties by in excess of 20 per cent, there have been a number of design changes made to the layout and there has been an increase in sustainable measures being proposed across the site.
“In addition to improved housing mix there have been a number of design improvements made.”
The site has proved controversial after outline planning permission was granted on appeal by the Secretary of State in 2020.
But outstanding concerns remain from the parish council and ward councillor.
Dave Watts from Long Melford Parish Council said: “We much appreciate the efforts they have made and the changes they have made. But we still have some important reservations about the current application.
“Bloor have now introduced two flint houses and walls to add to the variety of materials and to feed in to Long Melford’s rural feel.
“That’s welcome but two out of 150 is not enough – it amounts to 1.3 per cent of the total number of homes.”
He added: “The number of two bedroom homes is well below the strategic housing requirements. We would like to see more two bed homes to attract much-needed younger people and first time buyers to Long Melford.”
Ward councillor Elisabeth Malvisi said the offering of just two flint-inspired homes was not 'attractive enough'.
Wednesday’s decision is the final planning approval needed, although it is not yet clear when developers plan to begin work on site.