Debenham Neighbourhood Plan: ‘clear vision’ for the future, says inspector

Picture Debenham Neighbourhood plan
The villages plan, which got nearly 90 per cent support in a pre-submission consultation, has been given the thumbs-up by its official examiner. The report supports the Parish Council’s rejection of huge housing development sites north and south of Gracechurch Street.

Janet Cheesley, the examiner reporting on the plan, rejects the arguments against the it put forward in a 66 page document by Taylor Wimpey,  who want to build more than 600 houses off Gracechurch Street.

Her recommendation supports the Parish Council’s identification of land North of Ipswich Road and south of Low Road, and east of Aspall Road, opposite the primary school plus other small unidentified plots for future house building. In total they would allow the building of around 316 houses in the next 18 years.

Some changes in the Neighbourhood Plan are recommended but these are relatively minor and are unlikely to be opposed by the Parish Council. Once these are made Mid Suffolk District Council will have to organise a local referendum. While the plan is gaining increasing influence on planning decisions it does not have legal standing until it has been approved in a parish vote which is likely to happen early next year.

This is Ms Cheesley’s summery of her report in full:

1. The Debenham Neighbourhood Plan has a clear vision supported by five main objectives.
2. There is not an up-to-date strategic policy against which to assess overall housing figures. The Neighbourhood Plan has been produced in parallel with the production of the emerging Joint Local Plan. The Neighbourhood Plan allocates three sites for residential development. Whilst Policy DEB 1 specifies the allocated sites and windfall sites will provide up to 316 dwellings in the period 2016 to 2036, I have recommended that this policy is modified to refer to the provision of an estimate of around 316 dwellings and for there to be no restriction on the release of the site east of Aspall Road for development. I have found that all the allocated sites are deliverable and will contribute towards sustainable development.
3. I have recommended modification to some of the policies in the Plan, for the reasons set out in detail below. I have recommended the deletion of Policies DEB 6, DEB 7 and DEB 10. It is not possible to modify these policies to meet the Basic Conditions.
4. Even though I have recommended a number of modifications to the Plan, these do not significantly or substantially alter the intention or nature of the Plan.
5. Whilst I have set out my reasoning under individual policies, my overall conclusion is that, subject to my recommendations, the Plan meets the Basic Conditions. It is appropriate to make the Plan. Subject to my recommendations being accepted, I consider that the Debenham Neighbourhood Plan 2016 – 2036 will provide a strong practical framework against which decisions on development can be made. I am pleased to recommend that the Debenham Neighbourhood Plan 2016 – 2036, as modified by my recommendations, should proceed to Referendum.

The full report is on the Mid Suffolk District council website.

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