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Villagers hopeful battle is over after plans for 64 new homes in Boxford knocked back for second time



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Contentious housing plans for Boxford have been knocked back for the second time, after planners deemed the scheme would have an “unacceptable and severe impact” on the village road network.

Babergh District Council agreed today to reject an application for 64 homes on land east of Sand Hill, by 10 votes to one – just over two years after the same proposal was approved.

That permission was overturned by the High Court last year, following a successful appeal by Boxford Parish Council, due to a “material error in law” in the approval conditions, and the scheme was returned to the authority for redetermination.

From left: Robin Turner, Brian Howe, Cllr Bryn Hurren and Maureen Turner pictured in front of the field where the 64 homes were proposed. Picture: Richard Marsham/www.rmg-photography.co.uk.
From left: Robin Turner, Brian Howe, Cllr Bryn Hurren and Maureen Turner pictured in front of the field where the 64 homes were proposed. Picture: Richard Marsham/www.rmg-photography.co.uk.

A report prepared for this morning’s planning committee meeting stated that, while the overall scheme remained identical, circumstances had changed – notably the emergence of two local development plans affecting the village.

Concerns about a “severe and unacceptable impact” on Swan Street – one of the main roads through Boxford – without appropriate mitigation, were also cited in the committee’s decision to dismiss the application.

Following the verdict, a Babergh District Council spokeswoman said: “Although the proposed scheme has not changed since the original planning decision was quashed, the council’s joint local plan and Boxford’s neighbourhood plan have both progressed since then.

“Further highways assessments have also been carried out, showing the unacceptable impact the development would have on Swan Street.”

Bryn Hurren, district councillor for Boxford, welcomed the committee’s decision, adding that, while the applicant would be entitled to appeal the result, he hoped the issue would now come to a rest.

“I’m very relieved that this has come to a head and that the councillors backed the officer’s recommendation,” he told Suffolk News.

“The reasons given were certainly the right reasons.

“My one wish is that it can rest at this point and that the developer and landowner give the village a break.

“They can, of course, appeal, but it’s my wish that this doesn’t happen. It would be nice if the village could just move on. We have fought against this for three years now.

“We’ve got plans of our own to try to accommodate low-cost housing, so a massive development just to satisfy the chance of making some money is not what Boxford needs.

“We need a well-thought-out development, with proper infrastructure and support for the local school.

“We do need new development, but we also need infrastructure, and 64 homes on a greenfield site is not what the village needs.”