Stradbroke 44-homes plan for Grove Farm gets the green light

Grove Farm - a proposed new housing development. ANL-150415-144556009
Grove Farm - a proposed new housing development. ANL-150415-144556009

A proposal for 44 new homes in Stradbroke have been approved by Mid Suffolk District Council.

The plans, to be developed by Durrants on behalf of the land owners, is for homes ranging from one to four bedroom family houses, including the conversion of two barns, on agricultural land at Grove Farm, off Queen Street.

Of the 44 homes, 17 are expected to be affordable, local needs housing.

They were given the green light by Mid Suffolk District Council’s Development Control Committee last week. Planning officers had recommended approval of the development.

Stradbroke Parish Council voted five to four in favour of the proposal.

Of 20 public comments on the application, 18 opposed the plan, one was in support, and another neutral.

One villager felt the application was too big for the village, while a common theme in people’s objections were the potential increased traffic flow the development would bring.

Stuart Gemmill, parish council chairman who represented the authority at the planning meeting, told the Diss Express: “I think there is a very strong need for affordable housing in the Stradbroke, which is the basis of it really.

“It is inevitable there will be more traffic. But a lot of the people living there will be able to walk, and a pedestrian crossing (part of the development) is going in to help that as well.”

But Richard Pierce-Saunderson, a parish councillor in opposition to the scheme, fears there may be a death on Queen Street, saying he was not in opposition to development but insisted it should be “organic” rather than “explosive”.

“My major concerns are that it is too big a development, there are currently 20 houses already under construction in the village, that means that we will end up with 64 houses at least,” he said. “At the moment there are 51 houses for sale in Stradbroke, and the houses are struggling to sell in the village as it is.

“Queen Street is the main thoroughfare as everyone who works in Norwich or Diss uses that road, and it is a war zone.

“Even without the extra houses, I think we are going to have a death there sooner or later.

“I think most residents would support a development which was a maximum size of 24 houses.”

Initially, a planning proposal for 54 homes was lodged by Durrants to Mid Suffolk District Council in January, but this was modified to 44 properties in the summer.

Brian Belton, senior planner at Durrants, told the Diss Express work on the development would begin within the next three years, and said he had been confident the application would be approved.

“We are talking about four years of development on this scheme and it was an intense development,” he said.

“It is something we worked with the parish council with, not against, for many years.

“Stradbroke in particular was a very active village and they were losing their Post Office, shop and the school was crying out for more people and they got very concerned, and most people wanted the development.”

Commenting on the potential Queen Street traffic concerns, he added the pedestrian crossing would assist the problem, but ultimately the Highways Department of Suffolk County Council was satisfied.

A housing needs survey was carried out by Community Action Suffolk.

The survey, which drew a 34 per cent response rate, revealed 97 per cent were in favour of an affordable housing scheme.