An independent voice in the village, for the village. Providing news, information and action on matters that count.
295 new homes in Debenham
Head your email/letter: “Objection to Application DC/17/06293 , Land north of Gracechurch Street Debenham”
Key Points:

“Neighbourhood Planning has revolutionised community involvement in the planning process, giving people a whole new voice in the big decisions that affect their lives. Far from being the ‘NIMBY’s charter’ that some predicted, we’ve found that neighbourhood plans actually lead to more new homes getting built than would otherwise be the case. It’s a great example of the value of that bond between local councils and local people. Because let me get one thing absolutely clear. Both myself and government remain absolutely, 100 per cent committed to localism and devolution.”

Sajid Javid 2017 to the National Association of Local Councils

Neighbourhood PlanTaylor Wimpey ProposalComments
Supported by Independent ConsultantsRejected by Independent ConsultantsIndependent and Government approved consultants AECOM commented that a single development site on the scale proposed by Taylor Wimpey “has the potential to significantly change the size and character of the village. Development would have significant traffic impact along a bottlenecked Gracechurch Street towards High Street. It would have an unacceptable visual impact, …”.
Supported by Independent ExaminerRejected by Independent ExaminerIn her report of the 29th October 2018 Independent Examiner, Janet Cheesley (Hons) DipTP MRTPI, praised the village’s Neighbourhood Plan saying “The Plan is a well-written document”, and “...a clear Vision for the Parish has been established… The consultation and publicity went well beyond the requirements… to ensure that local residents, …and businesses were able to engage in the production of the plan…” adding, “I congratulate them on their considerable efforts”. She dismissed a 160 paged objection to the Neighbourhood plan from developer Taylor Wimpey, stating that the sites put forward for housing by the Neighbourhood Plan have met planning requirements for development, concluding “I do not consider it necessary for the inclusion of additional or alternative sites.”
Conforms to Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning guidelinesDoes not conform to Mid Suffolk District Council’s planning guidelinesMid Suffolk District Council’s Landscape Guidance document which states new development in the countryside should be “carefully sited to ensure the best fit with the landscape and to minimise its impact on the appearance of the landscape.” and “Development should be located away from ridge tops, upper valley slopes or prominent locations”.
Sensitive to the historic character of the villageDamaging to the character of the village and communityThe government has stated local authorities must ‘recognize the character and beauty of the countryside’. Babergh and Mid Suffolk Council’s Heritage and Settlement Sensitivity Analysis of March 2018 concluded that Debenham was one of two Mid Suffolk “settlements of particular vulnerability to poorly located development”. It makes sense that any development proposals must be considered carefully within this framework. Fiona Cairns, Director of the Suffolk Preservation Society (part of the Council for the Protection of Rural England) stated: “that this large scale speculative development will materially harm the character of one of Suffolk’s most historic villages.”
Delivers Sustainable developmentFails to deliver sustainable developmentThe Examiner did not support Taylor Wimpey’s submission that their proposal rather than the Neighbourhood Plan proposal should be supported. The Examiner stated “The Neighbourhood Plan contributes to the achievement of sustainable development”
Safe - Seeks to disperse traffic and mitigate impact on pinch pointsUnsafe - creates major traffic hazard in the vulnerable centre of the village. The Neighbourhood Plan provides the optimum solution to both traffic hazard and flood risk by keeping the main traffic flow out of the village centre and through creating the development downstream of the rivers flowing into the village. The Taylor Wimpey plan creates a major safety hazard by generating a significant increase in traffic flow in the core of the village which is most vulnerable to accident. By locating the Taylor Wimpey development upstream this introduces a significant unknown and unnecesary risk to future flooding issues.
Supports democracy and localismRejects democracy and localismThe Neighbourhood Plan is a key instrument of democracy in the government’s commitment to localism and devolution. It is supported by 85% of the residents. The imposition of predatory speculative developments such as the Taylor Wimpey plan are the antithesis of democracy, localism and devolution. If Debenham’s Neighbourhood Plan, commended by the Independant Examiner, fails - what hope for other Neighbourhood Plans?
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The Debenham Neighbourhood plan will:
  • deliver sustainable phased housing growth, avoiding infrastructure bottlenecks;
  • provide the right housing in the right locations, avoiding single large estates;
  • enable building of the quantity of housing required by national government and Mid Suffolk District Council with built-in flexibility to accommodate changes in these requirements;
  • protect and enhance the special historic character and landscape setting of the village;
  • avoid building over prominent views and providing landscaping between new and existing development and
  • ensure a mix of housing, including affordable homes, which meets the needs of the community.