The concentration of important buildings in the centre of Debenham illustrates the difficulties the village faces in improving traffic flows and parking. There are 94 structures in the parish listed as being of historic and/or architectural interest. They contribute to the charm of the place.
So why has Taylor Wimpey shown less than a quarter of them on its map illustrating the surroundings of the site where it wants to build 296 houses? We don’t know but it does paint a very different picture of the the village centre.
Sensibly, the map in the planning application shows buildings within a radius of the site but that means some of the 27 building selected to be shown are in Aspall and Winston parishes.
The number of important businings in Debenham make road improvements to cope with extra traffic very difficult. Even if land could be found for car parking access is likely to be difficult. The High Street and Gracechurch Street junction is surrounded by listed buildings making even modest improvements hard.
The Debenham conservation area appraisal by Mid Suffolk District Council in 2009 says
The grade I listed Church of St Mary is the jewel in Debenham’s crown with a late 13th Century chancel and 14th Century tower. Pevsner says of it “The principal interest of the church is the W porch, tower, and galilee.” This last is the narthex or chapel at the west end that includes the porch. Built mainly of flint with limestone dressings, the church has some bays of red brick to the south aisle which have recently been repaired.
Apart from the church, Debenham has a wealth of timber-framed buildings, seven of which are listed grade II*. One of these is the outlying manor of Crow’s Hall, with its 16th Century red and blue diaper pattern brickwork.
The remaining six grade II* buildings are in the village itself, a true testament to the quality of Debenham’s buildings.
For comparison here is the map from the planning application and Historic England’s map of listed buildings in Debenham.
Anyone looking at the planning application should not jump to the conclusion that Taylor Wimpey do not know their Market Cross from their Guildhall. The photograph in the application captions the Market Cross as the Guildhall, but the mistake comes from Historic England’s listings database.