Homes threat to wildlife corridor in Lowestoft is finally thrown out
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Residents of an area of Lowestoft described as a wildlife haven were celebrating this week after a contentious bid to build homes there was thrown out for good by a planning inspector.
The Woods Loke East Residents Group have been told that a scheme to build nine homes on land called the Stables will never surface again following a planning wrangle lasting nearly a year.
Confirmation that Woods Loke East will not see the homes being built on what is called is 'wildlife corridor' came from planning inspector Anne Napier-Derere.
She had been called in to judge an appeal by Euro Project Management after it appealed when its controversial homes plans were thrown out by Waveney District Council's development in January after councillors ignored advice from their own planning officials and decided the threat to wildlife was too much too bear.
In that meeting committee members had rejected the scheme as they feared the three terraced and six detached properties would impact on wildlife and create a dangerous planning precedent for the area.
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Rejecting the appeal by Euro Project Management planning inspector Napier-Derere said: 'I am satisfied from the evidence before me, including that provided by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, that part of site currently makes an important contribution to the local environment, providing benefit to wildlife habitat and ecology by forming part of a wildlife corridor of vacant land within the urban area.
'I consider that the resulting loss of semi-natural green space from the development of the site for nine dwellings would unacceptably and significantly reduce the contribution that is made by the site to the wildlife corridor.'
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She also added the homes would be 'unacceptable visually intrusive and would have a materially harmful effect on the visual amenities and character of the area' and there was other land the homes should be built on.
When the homes plan were first lodged it led to more than 30 letters of objections from concerned neighbours.
The homes plans were first debated by the development control committee last October and then rejected by councillors.
Euro Project Management then re-submitted the plans which were discussed in December before the committee deferred its decision until January's meeting, in which they were thrown out.
The decision had been deferred so planning officials could examine an earlier planning inspector's report relating to the land and another seperate bid to build 39 homes there.
That planning report had stated: 'There does not seem to be a compelling reason to keep the site entirely free of development.'
After examining that report the planning officials had recommended the plans for the nine homes be approved in January as the site was a sustainable location with good access to most services and facilities and that the proposed development will include some affordable housing.
However that recommendation was ignored by development control committee - a decision warmly welcomed by Peter Coull, from the Woods Loke East Residents Group, and who had spoken at committee meetings about his fears of losing wildlife.
Mr Coull said: 'Despite considerable pressure the committee stuck by its guns. We are lucky we have a forward thinking planning committee at Waveney.
'The residents group are celebrating following the government inspector dismissing an appeal by Euro Project Management.'
Keith Patience, Waveney District councillor for the Normanston Ward, had supported the residents group in its campaign against the homes.
He said: 'I would like to thank the inspector in upholding Waveney's Development Control Committee's decision concerning the Stables in Woods Loke East.
'I now hope that this will be the end of any future planning requests on this land so that the residents can now get their lives back to normal.'
In 2010 Flagship Housing put in a bid to build 39 homes at Woods Loke East which was rejected by the development control committee on the grounds it would be detrimental to the area and wildlife and there was other land more suited to the scheme.
Flagship Housing appealed but its appeal was rejected by a planning inspector, who had added there did not appear to be compelling reason to keep the site entirely free of development.