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Driveway construction causing dispute in picturesque Suffolk village

PUBLISHED: 08:00 01 November 2020

Orchard Brook housing development in Long Melford. Picture: Picture: NICHOLAS KING HOMES PLC/BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL

Orchard Brook housing development in Long Melford. Picture: Picture: NICHOLAS KING HOMES PLC/BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL

Archant

Residents on a housing development built in a picturesque Suffolk village are dismayed at plans to construct a tarmac driveway on the newly built site.

Wesley McCarthy, Planning Manager for NKH PLC, insisted that the request was out of concern for the disruption to residents and the Grade II listed buildings close by Picture: NICHOLAS KING HOMES PLC/BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCILWesley McCarthy, Planning Manager for NKH PLC, insisted that the request was out of concern for the disruption to residents and the Grade II listed buildings close by Picture: NICHOLAS KING HOMES PLC/BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL

Orchard Brook in Long Melford is the former location of Fleetwood Caravans Ltd, comprising of 46 properties built in 2016 with an agreement of keeping the access driveway as block paving.

Now, developers Nicholas King Homes PLC (NKH PLC) are requesting a tarmac driveway to be constructed instead, causing upset among residents already living on the development.

However, Wesley McCarthy, Planning Manager for NKH PLC, insisted that the appeal was out of concern for the disruption to residents and the Grade II listed buildings close by.

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Resident John Forward said: “I notice that NKH have lodged an appeal to the entrance to Orchard Brook from block pavers to tarmac against the Babergh District Council’s decision to reject their recent application for this amendment from the original planning permission. Tarmac would not only degrade the look of our village street scene which we are all proud of but would be destroyed with heavy refuse lorries which have to enter site once a week and lorries who serve The Cock and Bell pub with deliveries. This is not what was sold to us when we bought our properties.”

However, Mr McCarthy stated in his letter to Babergh District Council: “As you will be aware, this area is currently a tarmac surface and is located between two Grade II listed buildings.

“The process of implenting the permeable paving will be very intrusive, directly adjacent to the foundations of the listed buildings, if these buildings have foundations. The construction of the permeable paving would involve digging at least 0.5 metres directly adjacent to the listed buildings in order to install the sub-structure and we are not only concerned about the possible impact on the listed buildings but also about the disrupton that it would cause for the occupiers of the development. You will also be aware that visitors to the public house must access the car park by means of this access way.

“In order to avoid this disruption and potential risk to the listed buildings, we are proposing to resurface the existing tarmac entrance with a new layer of tarmac i.e. retention of like for like.”

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Nicholas King, Director of NKH PLC, said: “As far we are aware the driveway has always been tarmac anyway. If we put tarmac down again, it will be relatively manageable and with the least disturbance to residents.

“If we put blocks down, that will involve quite large excavation works - customers of the pub would have nowhere to park and the residents would lose access to their properties for a time.

“We accept that this condition was in the original planning concept but as we have looked at this over time, we have asked ourselves how we can do this with a view to the least amount of disturbance.

“We thought it was the most sensible thing to do.”

A Babergh and Mid Suffolk spokesperson said: “We welcome the expression of any concerns or comments from the public as part of the consultation, which is open until 13 November.

“All views will be considered with the application when it is presented to committee.”

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