Villagers braced for revised homes proposals for Boxford after key issues left unresolved following High Court victory
Despite a major legal victory against contentious housing proposals last month, villagers say the battle is far from over to keep the site in question free from development.
Concerned Boxford residents are anticipating revised development plans for land east of Sand Hill in the near future, after a number of issues were left unresolved by the recent successful planning appeal.
Outline permission awarded to Catesby Estates to build 64 homes and a community building on the site was overturned by the High Court in March – an outcome welcomed by the local community.
The quashing order determined that Babergh District Council made a “material error in law” in its approval conditions for the application.
However, no decision was made on arguments around the scheme’s traffic and highways provisions, which both Boxford Parish Council and local campaigners say are still “live issues”.
Boxford resident Brian Howe told the Suffolk News: “I’m very disturbed about the way the planning permission was handled and, although it has now been quashed, which we’re very happy about, it’s not the end of the story.
“The developer has deep pockets and will keep spending money to try to win this case, even if it goes against the majority will of the village. It’s in the wrong place and it’s unnecessary.
“The road system coming down from the site into the village is very narrow. If development went ahead, that would be a real choke point and people would be exposed to traffic from all directions, and that has not been addressed.
“We’re not nimbys. The neighbourhood plan has already identified sites in the village envelope for development, and this sits outside the village envelope.”
Robin Turner, whose home backs on to the proposed development site, added: “If there’s 64 homes on this site, there would be in excess of 100 more cars going through the village.
“I drive through the village and there are cars parked everywhere. We need more parking spaces even for the number of vehicles already in the village.
“There’s a thought that maybe they will put in new plans that cut it down to 40 houses, but these wouldn’t be affordable houses. It would not help youngsters in the village looking to get on the housing ladder.”
A spokeswoman for Babergh District Council confirmed that, following the High Court verdict last month, the authority was reviewing the application and legal considerations, in order to proceed to a redetermination in due course.
But district councillor Bryn Hurren, who represents Boxford, said the planning committee should learn from the mistakes of its previous decision, and ensure local opinion and planning policies are heeded at all times.
“The present government policy of build, build, build does not work in this village, unless the highway and traffic issues can be alleviated first,” he said.
“We need proper infrastructure and parking for our school, businesses, surgery and shops.
“The village is strangled by parked vehicles and traffic, to the point where it is ceasing to function for residents and visitors.”