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Monks Eleigh residents fear impact of new homes proposed at former orchard site in The Street

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New housing plans for a long-standing former orchard site have drawn the ire of residents, over fears about excessive development and its negative impact on their village.

Planning permission is being sought to build six new homes on land north of The Street in Monks Eleigh, near Sudbury, – at the site of two former fruit orchards divided by a public footpath – in a new application submitted this month.

Proposing a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced one-storey and two-storey properties, applicant Monks Eleigh Ltd says the scheme was devised after “extensive pre-application discussion” with parish and district councillors and officers.

Six new homes could be built on land north of The Street in Monks Eleigh. Picture: Mark Westley
Six new homes could be built on land north of The Street in Monks Eleigh. Picture: Mark Westley

A planning statement supporting the application reads: “It is a well-informed proposal that takes account of the community expectations, makes effective use of the site without over-developing it and protects both adjacent listed buildings and the wider conservation area.”

However, the proposal has already drawn a dozen objections on Babergh District Council’s online planning portal from villagers, who pointed to the number of homes which have been recently built, and the consequent increase in local traffic.

Concerns were also raised about the potential adverse effect on the appearance and character of Monks Eleigh, and the loss of the heritage orchards and footpath.

Dr Laura Reeves, who lives on The Street, said: “The site in question presents concerns over increased traffic. Adding a road, joining The Street to allow access to the proposed new development, will make the road more dangerous than it already is.

“Secondly, the heritage orchard is a beautiful feature of the village, with an undisturbed footpath which villagers use to access both the church and village hall.

“The very fact that the orchards are overgrown should not be given weight in the application, seeing as the owner is responsible for ensuring this does not occur.

“Thirdly, we already have 18 new build homes in the village sitting empty. Instead of building additional homes, our efforts should be placed in welcoming families to the village and filling the empty homes that already exist.”

To view the application, go to planning.baberghmidsuffolk.gov.uk and use the reference number DC/22/03432.

The topic of the development plans is expected to be raised at the next Monks Eleigh Parish Council meeting, which will take place in the village hall on Monday, from 7.30pm.