Neighbourhood Plan Committee Meeting 3 November 2020


Tim Sheppard (‘TS’), Chair; Jennie Jordan (‘JJ’); Barbara Campbell (‘BC’); Chris White (‘CW’); Richard Furlonger (‘RF’).

Apologies: Ian Poole (‘IP’)


The meeting was called to discuss the outline application for planning permission for 14 dwellings and associated development at Churchfield.

The final consultation stage in relation to the draft Neighbourhood Plan (‘NP’) will be completed on 27 November 2020. The final date for comments in respect of the Churchfield application by the PC is 13 November 2020. There are, however, some administrative issues with the Babergh Planning Portal between 9 November and 11 November 2020 and the next PC meeting is scheduled for 12 November 2020. That meeting may not be, or may only just be quorate, so there is a risk it may be ineffective. A further meeting of the PC is scheduled for 10 December 2020. BC is therefore going to ask the PC Clerk to liaise with Babergh District Council (‘Babergh’) in relation to the possibility of an extension of time for the PC can submit its response.

The application has to be determined by Babergh by 22 January 2021. The NP will be a material consideration in the determination of the application but will be afforded full weight if it has passed the examination stage and been approved by an Examiner.

The following points-some of which were suggested by IP in advance of the meeting-where discussed as the basis for the Committee’s suggestion for a consultation response by the Parish Council (‘PC’) to the application:

  • The basis of the application is out of date as it does not take account of the Submission draft of the Joint Local Plan;
  • It does not properly consider the policies of the draft NP and/or give them appropriate planning weight;
  • The site is not identified for housing in the Submission draft of the Joint Local Plan;
  • Neither is it within the Settlement Boundary of the JLP, the extant LP, or the draft NP;
  • The JLP identifies a minimum of 4 additional dwellings for Little Waldingfield between 2018 and 2036 and the submitted Neighbourhood Plan already makes provision for around 10 dwellings, so the site is not needed to meet the local housing requirement identified in the JLP;
  • It is contrary to Policy LP01 of the Submission draft of the JLP, which covers windfalls development in Hamlets;
  • Development of the site is likely to have a significant detrimental impact on the character and setting of the conservation area; Grade I Listed Church and Wood Hall;
  • The application does not properly address the content of the Conservation Area Appraisal;
  • The indicative layout plan submitted with the application would represent the over development of the site and would result in a development that would result in an unsustainable, car dominated development;
  • The impact of the proposed development on highway safety has not been adequately considered;
  • Vehicular access to the site will be difficult;
  • The NP identifies it as Local Green Space as it meets the NPPF criteria;
  • The Submission draft of the Joint Local Plan states that the Local Green Space is to be converted to public open space, but only a fraction of the LGS.

The prospect of legal support was discussed. The PC does not have the financial resources to fund legal input but it is hoped that based on the consultation responses to be made by the PC and Villagers, Babergh reach a lawful decision that the application should be refused. Private, or group funded legal assistance might be forthcoming, if necessary, in due course. A challenge to any decision to grant planning permission has to be made within 6 weeks thereof by way of a claim for judicial review.

A further meeting to will be called to discuss the NP Committee’s response to the application, once it is known whether Babergh will grant an extension of time for the PC to submit its consultation response.


The NP Committee,

3 November 2020.