Controversial plans to build 78 new homes refused
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A controversial outline planning proposal to build 78 new homes in Carlton Colville has been unanimously refused – much to the delight of concerned residents.
The bid would have seen a new housing estate built within the setting of St Peter's Church, a Grade II* listed building, on the land at Church Lane and Chapel Road.
It originally came before Waveney District Council's (WDC) planning committee last month; however councillors voted to visit the greenfield site to more accurately assess the community impact before reaching a final decision.
As the application was brought back to the committee on Tuesday evening some residents were forced to watch proceedings via a link in the canteen as available seating overflowed.
Residents, councillors and Historic England have continually voiced concerns the proposal will negatively impact the setting of the church and nearby residents.
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St Peter's Church is the oldest recorded building in the town. It was originally built in 1326, then rebuilt in 1884, and is Grade II* listed – meaning it is a particularly important building of more than special interest.
Historic England objected to the application and said developing the last open area of land in the setting of the church would result in harm to the significance of the building.
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During the meeting representatives from Badger Building, who submitted the bid, attacked the 'narrow-minded' views of Historic England.
They said: 'The church's purpose is unaffected by setting. Churches serve people not fields.
'Our plan adds housing to a faltering housing supply.'
The proposed scheme also outlined plans to provide extra parking for the church to meet modern needs.
During the debate committee members agreed the site's proximity to the listed church was grounds enough to refuse the plan.
However questions were also raised about whether the area's existing infrastructure could cope with an influx of residents.
Councillor Graham Elliott noted the current draft of WDC's Local Plan, which is formally released next week, rejected the site.
He said: 'We have to allocate sites – if we don't we lose all control of our planning system.
'This site was assessed and ruled out.
'We owe it to our local residents to deliver our local plan and not sites on top of that.'
The councillors' decision was greeted with a wave of cheering and applause by relieved residents.