A C T I O N E A S T B E R G H O L T
Planning Committee Meeting 23-03-16 Babergh DC
Moores Lane result
The Babergh planning committee approved the application for the 144 homes at Moores Lane East Bergholt, in 23rd march, by 9 to 5 votes, at the end of a three and a quarter hours session.
The opposition to the proposal was presented at length, by Paul Ireland, the chairman of the EB parish council, by Mark Hargraves of the Action Group, Councillor John Hinton, and Councillor Stephen Williams.
The supporters of the application refused to give credence to the Neighbourhood Plan NP, and to the very valid list of points raised in the report by Martin Cave. The NP draws on the views of the whole community and is at a level of detail which no council would have the resources or the time to attain. The East Bergholt NP clearly states the need for new housing, including low cost housing, but reasonably insists that it is built on a scale and over a timeframe consistent with actual demand.
It has been produced under the parish council, taken nearly 7,000 hours of mainly voluntary input at a cost of over £30,000, it has been driven by the results of a 25 page questionnaire, and has taken great pains to conform to the Babergh core strategies and to the national planning framework.
But it has been summarily ignored by the Babergh planning committee. As were the 436 letters of objection to the plan. However, the solitary two letters in favour were apparently evidence enough to persuade the planners that there was nevertheless overwhelming local support for the development.
Other villages now considering neighbourhood plans will take note of how much has gone into such a NP and how little return they are likely to achieve. If the NP scheme is diminished, the last defence of true local say over our smaller communities will be overridden. This may not matter to those bent on obeying the missives coming down from central authorities, who only see the numbers of houses and the leap in populations as a justification.
Fortunately, the Secretary of State for Local Government has placed an Article 31 order on Babergh preventing them from approving the application, until they have considered calling it in.
We await the outcome.
The tone of the meeting was heated throughout, with an obvious attempt at one point to force through a vote to approve the plan before Councillor Williams had given his detailed case for rejection.
Councillor Ridley made the memorable statement that he did not think that the addition of 144 unsightly homes right at the entrance to East Bergholt mattered, because you could already see a few existing rooftops there anyway. Presumably with the logic that because there might be a few visible blemishes, it was OK to go ahead and completely spoil the vista with an enormous carbuncle of an inappropriate urban style estate.
The nine who voted for approval of the 144 homes estate were:
Chairman Peter Beer Cons, Lee Parker Cons, Sue Ayres (sub for Melanie Barrat) Cons, Sue Burgoyne Cons, Michael Holt Cons, Adrian Osborne Cons, Nick Ridley Council Chairman Cons, Tina Campbell (sub for Ray Smith) Cons, Derek Davis Ind Cons
The five who voted against were:
Stephen Plumb Ind, David Busby LibDem, David Rose Ind, Michael Creffield Cons, Stephen Williams Cons
After the meeting, press and local TV conducted interviews outside the council premises.
Councillors Who Voted for the 144 house Moores Lane Development
Sue Ayres Peter Beer Sue Burgoyne
Tina Campbell Derek Davis Michael Holt
Nick Ridley Adrian Osborne Lee Parker
Article 31 letter from DCLG directing Babergh to suspend planning permission for Moores Lane
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