Bid for 40 new homes meets fresh opposition

A flooded field at the Pilgrims Way site, earmarked for 40 houses.

The flooded site for the 40 houses on Pilgrims Way. - Credit: Bungay Town Council

A bid to build up to 40 new homes on a former allotment site has been met with strong opposition once again.

Outline planning permission is being sought to build the new homes on land off Pilgrims Way, in Bungay, despite concerns repeatedly being raised about the risk of flooding.

At a meeting of Bungay Town Council's planning, environment and highways committee on Thursday night, councillors unanimously agreed to recommend refusal of the plans on the basis of a risk of pluvial flooding, unsuitable roads, overdevelopment and loss of green space and natural habitats.

They also raised concerns about the impact new homes would have on the current sewage system, and the heritage statement submitted as part of the plans, which differed from Suffolk County Council's heritage statement.

A similar proposal had been unanimously rejected by East Suffolk Council's northern planning committee in February 2020, before applicant Halsbury Homes Ltd appealed the decision to the government's planning inspectorate.

They concluded the benefits of the homes, including a mix of affordable housing were "not sufficient to outweigh the harm."

Councillor Dave O'Neill said: "I suspect, rather like Chinese water torture, the owner of the land will be putting in planning applications from time to time and will probably continue to do so over the coming years in the, I hope, vain hope that it gets passed if they eventually wear us away.

"This site used to be wonderful allotments because you never had to water it. It was ideal conditions for growing your fruit and veg.

"The risk of flooding will not go away and that is why these plans should be rejected this time, the time after that and the time after that."

It comes as dozens of homes around the town were flooded last month.

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Town mayor Bob Prior said: "It is the wrong place for housing.

"I know it holds water, then you look at the access to the site and that is totally unsuitable and ludicrous.

"They also plan to go into the existing sewage system and we know it is not adequate for the housing we already have.

"We are not against new builds and we need new homes, but this is totally ludicrous."

A proposal for 30 homes on the same patch of land was also rejected in 1992.