A visionary document that if approved by planners would see 2,500 new homes built between Haverhill and Kedington has been adopted as part of the planning guidelines by St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
The masterplan for Great Wilsey Park was approved by 31 votes to eight, with three abstentions, at the borough’s full council meeting on Tuesday night.
The document faced stiff opposition from residents of Kedington, who feel it would be too imposing on their village and needs to be cut to not more than 1,150 homes with a buffer zone of at least 200 metres of woodland that would help reduce noise and visual pollution.
During the meeting, residents and councillors spoke out against the proposal, characterising it as a ‘creeping urban sprawl’ which threatened to swallow Kedington and other villages.
Concerns raised included increased congestion on the A1307, an insufficient provision of employment in Haverhill and a lack of appropriate infrastructure.
Speaking during the public forum, Kedington parish councillor Nathan Loader said: “The proposed Master Plan for unsustainable development needs to be rebalanced to prevent the negative consequences of massive urban creep.
“The lack of Greenfield employment land planned for Haverhill shows this council is planning to make the town economically poorer.”
Cllr Tony Brown, Haverhill East ward member, criticised the consultation process and said increased commuter traffic on the A1307 to Cambridge would put ‘huge pressure’ on the nearby villages.
“There should have been a much larger consultation in the early stages so residents could have had more of a say in the size and scope of the development,” he said.
Cllr Karen Richardson, Kedington ward member, said: “This will impact greatly on Kedington and the surrounding villages. They will lose their individuality and just be absorbed.
“I ask you to listen to the residents who are afraid of all the impacts this development will have.”
Speaking in support of the plan, Cllr Alaric Pugh, cabinet member for planning and growth, said: “The master plan is an enabling document. Without it we cannot move forward.
“The scale of this development is extremely important to Haverhill but it is not an instant impact. It will take many years to deliver.”
The creator of the masterplan, Hallam Land Management, has included provision for two new primary schools, a health centre, shops, an equipped play area, specialist housing for the elderly, community allotments and public open spaces.