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Fresh delay over plan for 375 homes near air base

PUBLISHED: 05:30 07 November 2019

Potential noise impacts from jets at nearby RAF Lakenheath have been a sticking point with the Station Road homes application. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Potential noise impacts from jets at nearby RAF Lakenheath have been a sticking point with the Station Road homes application. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Long-running plans to build 375 homes in Lakenheath have hit a fresh delay, after plans were pushed back so councillors could visit the site.

West Suffolk Council's development control committee met in Mildenhall on Wednesday where the application lodged by the Cobbold Family and Pigeon Investment Management Ltd to develop land north of Station Road was recommended for approval by officers.

But a motion was put forward calling for the decision to be pushed back so that the committee members could carry out a visit of the site.

Councillor Roger Dicker, who seconded the motion, said: "There is no doubt if you go on a site visit it gives you a totally different perspective.

"Reading this, we are looking at it all again, and taking no notice of what was decided by Forest Heath District Council [in 2018].

"I think it needs a new site visit by all members."

According to council planning officers, a site visit was deemed unnecessary because there is "very little members would gain" and said that the land had already been adopted for housing in the local plan.

Eleven of the 15 members agreed to defer the plans until after a site visit, although it is not yet clear when that visit will take place or when it will return for a committee decision.

The decision is the latest in a catalogue of road blocks the proposals have encountered since first being submitted in November 2014, including an intervention by then communities secretary Sajid Javid, changes to habitats legislation and other amendments needed.

Forest Heath last year gave the outline plans the green light, but further wrangling over habitats legislation which has resulted in the council having to carry out a new assessment meant it has had to return for a fresh decision.

Planning officers said no regard should be given to previous decisions.

As well as outline plans for the homes, the proposals also included a bid for full planning permission to create a new access road from Station Road and allocate land for a school.

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