Controversial plans for Haverhill could get green light

Aerial photograph of the Great Wilsey Park development site in red
Aerial photograph of the Great Wilsey Park development site in red

Controversial plans for thousands of homes to the north east of Haverhill could get the go ahead next week.

Applicants H J Pelly and Hallam Land Management are seeking outline planning approval to build up to 2,500 homes, two local centres and two primary schools at Great Wilsey Park in Little Wratting.

Members of St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Development Control Committee are recommended to approve the scheme, despite significant opposition from residents and groups like Historic England, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Kedington Action Group, Sport England, Haverhill Town Council and Kedington, Sturmer and Great Wratting parish councils.

The impact of more traffic on the already heavily congested A1307 and the prospect of not having the North West Haverhill Relief Road in place first are a cause of concern for many. Failure to deliver the road first would be contrary to the council’s Haverhill Vision 2031 planning document which states permission ‘will not be granted’ to applications for the site ‘unless it is demonstrated the transport impacts can be satisfactorily mitigated’.

Ward member Tony Brown says the relief road ‘is absolutely essential’ to the development and without it the impact of vehicles trying to access the A1307 at peak times along Withersfield Road could be ‘severe’.

The borough council’s environmental health department said not delivering the relief road first ‘could adversely affect’ traffic and pollution in Withersfield Road where levels of nitrogen dioxide are already known to be high.

Kedington Action Group thinks ‘the accumulative effect of all Haverhill Vision dwellings could result in double or triple peak flow traffic volumes on the A1307’ which, it says, ‘is unacceptable and needs greater attention’.

In its objection, the group states: “Without appropriate infrastructure this development will increase journey times, reduce road safety and lower the quality of life for all those living in but working outside of the area.”

Further concerns include the proposed site accesses, potential to turn village roads into ‘rat runs’, increased flood risk to Sturmer, and the difficulty of creating enough jobs to make the development sustainable.

Historic England, meanwhile, claims it will result in a ‘high level of harm’ to the setting of the ‘moated site at Great Wilsey Farm’ scheduled monument and Suffolk Wildlife Trust wants more surveys to better understand the area’s dormice population which is ‘of at least regional, and possibly national importance’.

The planning committee is due to make a decision on the application on Thursday (March 2).