Council committee gives green light for Sproughton development
Babergh District Council today agreed outline planning permission for 105 houses in Sproughton – providing 37 "affordable homes" for low income families, opportunity for self-build plots, a community woodland and highways improvements.
Applicants Pigeon Investment Management Ltd and The Felix Thornley Cobbold Agricultural Trust submitted a hybrid application for development of land to the north of Burstall Lane, with plans coming before today’s Planning Committee meeting – held virtually to ensure public safety during the current coronavirus outbreak.
Following input from planning officers, objectors, the applicant, councillors – and subsequent debate – the committee voted by six to five in favour of authorising the chief planning officer to approve outline planning permission for the scheme, alongside full planning permission for the new spine road, subject to conditions
The development benefits from 37 affordable homes, offering shared ownership opportunities and lower rents than the local market rate. These homes will range in size from one-bedroom apartments to three-bedroom houses – accommodating families, local residents wishing to downsize and those looking to get on the housing ladder. Increasing demand from the district’s ageing population will be catered for with the inclusion of six shared ownership bungalows.
Provision for 13 self-build plots has been incorporated in the proposals, meeting a demonstrated need from the district’s self-build register, which currently lists over 300 interested parties.
Plans also include a public woodland spanning more than seven acres – enabling use of a community nature area by residents of both the development and local area. This will be accessible by proposed new footpath links – creating additional connectivity throughout the development and wider countryside. An obligation set out by the council, will see the provision and management of the woodland, guaranteeing future enjoyment for years to come.
Extensive highways improvements have also been sought by the council, with the applicant funding a new spine road to divert traffic away from the B1113/Lower Road staggered junction, alleviating congestion and reducing conflict with pedestrians and cyclists.
A number of measures have been agreed to promote sustainable transport options in the village, including the creation of cycle and pedestrian links, the relocation of a bus stop away from heavy traffic and a new pedestrian crossing – benefitting all local residents and safeguarding pedestrian and cyclist safety in Sproughton.
To further support the council’s blueprint for addressing climate change, the applicant will ensure homes are energy efficient, fund the installation of multiple electric vehicle charging points on site and commit to measures to encourage biodiversity.
Ecological mitigation measures include a preliminary Ecological Appraisal, as well as plans to survey the presence of breeding birds, bats, reptiles and badgers on site. The applicant has also agreed to skylark habitat mitigation, the provision of nest and bat boxes, connectivity for hedgehogs, and new allotments to link to existing wildlife corridors by meadow and hedgerow planting.
Community Infrastructure Levy and additional obligations, including a contribution of over £900,000 towards the expansion of local schools on completion of the new homes, will be agreed if and when the final details of the scheme are approved.
Cllr Peter Beer, Chairman of Babergh District Council’s Planning Committee, said:
“Our decision was not an easy one to reach as this was a finely balanced application, met with some opposition from the local community. However, after much deliberation we believe the extensive benefits of the proposals outweighs potential harm, provided the applicant meets the conditions set out today.
“Plans include a substantial amount of much-needed affordable housing, within walking distance of local amenities, supporting our ambition for Babergh residents to have the option to remain local.
“The development will also provide public open space totalling over seven acres, in addition to funding highways improvements to relieve traffic congestion and new footpaths and cycleways – benefiting the whole village and ensuring our commitment to bright and healthy futures for our communities is met.
“We are very appreciative of the ongoing efforts of Sproughton residents in developing a neighbourhood plan, as we continue to work with our communities to deliver the homes needed to meet anticipated population growth in Babergh.”