Developer accused of ‘pulling the wool over council’s eyes’ as 200 home plans changed

Plans for the development near Chediston Street, Halesworth, from Design and Access Statement. Photo

Plans for the development near Chediston Street, Halesworth, from Design and Access Statement. Photo: Christchurch Land and Estate Ltd. - Credit: Archant

A developer has been accused of “pulling the wool” over a council’s eyes around a 200 home housing development.

A proposal for 200 new homes on land south of Chediston Street in Halesworth had previously been granted planning permission by East Suffolk Council in March 2019.

Yet the developer Christchurch Land and Estates returned to the council’s north planning committee on Tuesday, October 13, seeking to move proposed access to the site.

Initially, a roundabout had been proposed at the junction of Roman Way and Chediston Street, with the developer now proposing a junction on Roman Way instead following discovery of an underground tank.

Ward councillor Tony Goldson, who is not a member of the planning committee, said: “They knew about this tank since 2017.

“This is not an ammended plan, they are trying to pull the wool over your eyes.”

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Concerns were also raised by public objector Charlotte Slater, who called for a signal-controlled pedestrian and cyclist crossing on the “hazardous” road.

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, agent Victoria Balboa told the committee: “The presence of an underground tank makes it difficult to install a suitable road construction above and the tank would create issues in meeting Suffolk County Council’s highways design requirements.

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“We are therefore seeking to agree an alternative road access from Roman Way.

“We have considered other options, including a mini-roundabout but this is not considered suitable as an option.

“Highway design guidance states mini-roundabouts should not be proposed where new access is being created or where they link to the development.

“This is an allocated site in the council’s local plan with 35pc affordable housing which is so needed by the local community.

“It is correct the tank was known about but the exact location was not understood.”

A report prepared for councillors acknowledged concerns of local residents, but found no highway safety or other grounds on which the application could be refused.

Craig Rivett said: “It is regrettable this course of events has led to the situation we find ourselves in but I don’t feel we have a reason to object.”

Councillors approved the proposal, with councillor Norman Brooks voting against it.

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