Mid Suffolk District Council today refused detailed plans for four homes to be built near a memorial commemorating King Edmund, citing that proposals were not in keeping with the local area.
Applicant Danny Ward Builders sought outline planning permission for the development of land to the east of Abbey Hill in Hoxne, which was granted by Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning committee in August 2017.
A decision on the final details of the scheme, scheduled for March 2020, was deferred after the application was withdrawn, on recommendation that plans were amended to incorporate design and layout changes, reducing the development’s impact on its surroundings.
The amended plans came back to today’s planning committee meeting, held virtually for public safety during the current coronavirus outbreak – with Cllr Hadingham replacing Ward Member Cllr Matthew Hicks as Committee Chair for this agenda item, to ensure impartiality in the decision making process.
Following input from planning officers, the applicant, objectors and supporters – and subsequent debate – the committee voted unanimously in favour of refusing the application.
Reasons cited included concerns about the scale, appearance and landscaping of proposals failing to be in character or sympathetic to the local area and history. Committee members also felt that the development could potentially obscure the uninterrupted view of a nearby monument – given Grade II listed status in 2018 – marking the location identified by historians as the site of the murder of King Edmund, the first patron saint of England.
Another significant factor in the decision against the application was that it failed to add to the design quality and function of the area, by way of being unable to demonstrate local distinctiveness in this rural character, contrary to both national and the council’s planning policies.
Cllr Lavinia Hadingam, Vice-Chair of Mid Suffolk District Council’s Development Control Committee A said:
“We want to ensure that the right properties are built in the right places in Mid Suffolk and after much deliberation our committee reached a decision that this development would not fulfil this aim - reflecting the view of many Hoxne residents.
“This is an area of great historical significance and unfortunately the applicant has missed an opportunity to incorporate this into the development’s design, with the landscaping and appearance of proposals failing to be in keeping with its surroundings.”