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D-Day looms for Hamlet Croft redevelopment plan

Thursday, 9th August 2012.

Plans to build 91 houses on the former Hamlet Croft football ground in Hamlet Road come up for a final decision by planners next week.

Members of St Edmundsbury Borough Council's development control committee will make a site inspection on Thursday morning, and will then return to Bury St Edmunds to make their decision.

The plans have met with widespread opposition from local residents and 'vehement' objection from Haverhill Town Council, but they are being recommended for approval by the borough planning officers.

Because a technicality connected with when the amended plans for the site were advertised, committee members were unable to make a decision at their meeting last week and deferred it until after the required date of August 16.

In the meantime they took the opportunity to make the site inspection.

Reasons for objection are many and varied, but mostly concern the loss of amenity for local residents and the extra traffic pressure on Hamlet Road.

In both these areas they have not found support from the council officers concerned.

Suffolk County Council highways department does not consider Hamlet Road to be at full capacity and sees no reason to object to the development.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council planners think the proposals, which include an area of public open space, will improve the amenity of local residents.

The estate is unlikely to be prominent in the town landscape as most of it will be hidden behind the houses along Hamlet Road, but one town landmark is set to disappear to make way for it - the line of poplar trees which were the background to many of Haverhill Rovers' triumphs and disasters.

They are due to be felled to make way of a 'landscape belt'. Planners feel this will improve the amenity of nearby residents.

The loss of amenity open space or playing field,which forms one of the grounds of objection, is not supported by planning officers or sports advisory bodies because a new football ground has already been created in Chalkstone Way for Haverhill Rovers.

But Haverhill councillor Gordon Cox has pointed out that this was built on another playing field at Chalkstone, so there is still a deficit which has not been made up.

Hamlet Croft still belongs to St Edmundsbury Borough Council as the council's preferred developers, Bloor Homes, who have submitted the current application, will not buy it until planning consent has been given.

It is already earmarked for development, so the principle cannot be contested, only the details.

A condition of planning consent would be that Bloor Homes will have to stump up over 350,000 for improvments to local facilities and amenities, most of which would be towards education.

Haverhill Online News

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