Bid for church and new homes in Fressingfield is thrown out

Fressingfield Methodist Chapel. ANL-160316-150735005
Fressingfield Methodist Chapel. ANL-160316-150735005

A parish council chairman has expressed her disappointment that a bid to build a new baptist chapel along with 18 homes was rejected by planners.

Fressingfield Parish Council had backed the plans, on land south west of School Lane in the village, saying that the village needed to “grow to survive.”

Fressingfield has known for a long time it has been earmarked for some extra houses. We thought this site would have had a lot to offer the community

Prue Rush

But Mid Suffolk District Council disagreed. It said the plans, submitted on behalf of the trustees of Fressingfield Baptist Chapel, did not guarantee that a footpath connecting the development with local facilities could be built because it did not own the necessary land.

The council also said there was inadequate visibility for people turning into the site from School Road and that the development would impact heavily on a site considered to be a priority habitat area of broadleaf woodland. It said the development would result in the complete loss of the “irreplaceable” habitat.

Prue Rush, chairman of the parish council said: “I think the parish council will be surprised at the outcome.

“Fressingfield has known for a long time it has been earmarked for some extra houses. We thought this site would have had a lot to offer the community.

“The reasons (for refusal) were a bit of a surprise to us.”

But Mrs Rush also admitted that some in the village would be pleased with the planning refusal.

The parish council initially opposed the plans, due to the size of the proposed chapel. But when they saw revised plans reducing the scale of the building, they changed their recommendation to approval.

The Diss Express contacted the Baptist trustees, but was told the person to speak to on the matter was not available.

The plans for 18 homes included six affordable homes, open space and parking.

The new chapel would have replaced the current chapel in Cratfield Road and a planning statement supporting the application said a replacement building was needed to accommodate a growing congregation and other community activities associated with the church.

A new children’s play area would have been built as part of the scheme.

The statement said the Mid Suffolk district needed more homes and the site would satisfy some of that need.