69 homes for Suffolk village delayed over 'bland' design

Bennett Home' Sproughton development. Picture: KEITH MINDHAM/BENNETT HOMES

Completed properties at Bennett Homes' Sproughton development. - Credit: Photo: Keith Mindham Photography

Community leaders have pushed back a decision on final planning matters for 69 homes in a Suffolk village amid concerns over the appearance of the properties.

Outline permission was granted three years ago for a field off Diss Road and Chapel Lane in Botesdale, with the matters around appearance, layout, landscaping and scale of the development coming before Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday for approval.

But councillors instead decided by six votes to two to delay a decision because of comments raised by the parish council around the development design checklist in its neighbourhood plan, citing the designs as “bland and lacking in local distinctiveness”.

Country walk

The designs for the homes in Botesdale have been criticised as 'bland' - Credit: Archant

They have urged developers Bennett Homes to liaise with planning officers and the parish council to consider the designs and appearance.

Edward Parker, managing director of Bennett Homes, said: “The decision to defer our reserved matters application to build 69 new homes at Botesdale is clearly disappointing and a further delay to an application which received outline planning consent in July 2018.

“We have worked very closely with the local authority for many months and will continue to do so to ensure there are no outstanding concerns regarding the scheme.

“One third of the properties will be affordable housing which will bring much-needed homes to the area and it is a shame that the decision to defer will mean a further delay for local residents looking to own their own homes.”

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The site is planned to feature 45 two-storey market homes and 24 affordable properties, 16 of which will be rented.

It has been allocated for development in the parish’s neighbourhood plan – a blueprint which effectively maps out areas suitable for future development.

Councillor Rick Meyer said deferral will “encourage the developers to engage with the parish council to agree a set of criteria that removes their concern”.

He added: “We represent the people on the ground and they don’t like these buildings.”

Committee chairman Matthew Hicks said the developer engaging with the parish council “would be the right thing to do when you are working with the community which we are here to represent”.

It is not yet clear when the matter will return to the council’s committee.