Planning Meeting of Charsfield Parish Council

Tuesday 15th October 2013




Present: Cllrs P Holloway, F Moor, D Murray, J Pedgrift, and E Winkworth (Chairman)

In attendance: the Clerk and 23 members of the public


Minute numbers and Actions
1       Apologies: Cllrs A Reeve and R Wright


2       Declarations of Interest

There were none.


3          Planning: DC/13/2650/OUT – Use of land at junction of Chapel Lane and The Street, Charsfield for the construction of 9 dwellings and access road.

The Chairman stated that there were likely to be other development proposals within the parish but that the response of the Council to SCDC could not take those into consideration. He then read an introductory statement from Mr Roberts, the landowner (see below) and agreed to circulate that statement by email.


Roger Pullham then showed a prepared presentation showing objections and read a selection of comments made at the independent meetings about this planning application: –

  • The inaccurate boundary needs to be resolved
  • The ownership of trees on the site needs to be resolved
  • There has been no public consultation
  • This development will have a significant impact on the landscape and our village settlement should be preserved
  • The engineering required on the sloping site will be prohibitively expensive
  • There has been no ecological assessment; a field within the parish was bought by residents in order to protect it
  • There has been no topographical survey
  • There are orchids growing in the field
  • The development will be visually detrimental
  • The existing drainage problem will be exacerbated increasing flooding dangers
  • There will be added traffic on a road where there are already regular near misses
  • The development is out of scale with the existing village
  • The development will extinguish an existing footpath

Roger mentioned that he himself had spent thousands of pounds on drainage for his property opposite the site then went on to read the comments of Planning Consultant Martin Price: –

  • The plans seem to be merely indicative
  • The plans are inaccurate regarding existing trees so a site survey of trees should be undertaken, with particular regard to the rare Aspen trees on the site
  • There hasn’t been a biodiversity assessment
  • A flood risk assessment is required, because the insurance premiums of surrounding properties have already risen considerably
  • There is no statement of community involvement
  • In conclusion, the plans as they exist are unusable and should be rejected until they are of a better standard


Martin Price then noted that the Council should have regard to SCDC Core Strategy policy SP27 which defines this area outside the physical limits of the village as countryside with a presumption against development.


The Chairman at this point read a letter from a parishioner expressing several issues with the development. Full support for the objections raised was expressed and received approval from the majority of the public attending.


Questions that were asked and answers given:

1)    Is this development within the village physical limits? It is outside but adjacent to those limits.

2)    Is Springfield House within the physical limits? No.

3)    Is the proposed site listed in the currently applicable SCDC Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment? Mr Roberts stated that it is.

4)    What are the SCDC affordable housing requirements? A development of more than three properties requires one in three properties to be affordable.

5)    Define affordable housing? Housing for rent or shared ownership, often through a Housing Association, for those who cannot afford to buy a property of their own.

6)    Until there is a Neighbourhood Plan in place is Charsfield open to any planning application? Yes.

7)    How do the Council notify parishioners of Planning Applications received? Normal practice of posting meeting agendas on the noticeboard has been followed and the recent addition of emailing agendas out. The Council encourage parishioners to attend Parish Council meetings.

8)    Is the site in a flood zone? The environment agency website shows that it is not a high risk flood zone.

9)    What is the need for affordable housing within the parish when there is no work in the parish and minimal bus services? The question elicited general agreement and the possibility of such housing being wasted was raised as in a nearby village suitable tenants were not found.

10) Could SCDC reclassify Charsfield to less than a Local Service Centre? This possibility was considered unlikely but the Clerk will investigate.

11) Will the planning application have to be considered by committee, that members of the public can attend, if there are enough objections? An application goes to committee if the planning officer and the consultees do not concur. At that meeting a Parish Council representative, any member of the public having objected or supported the application may have 3 minutes to address the meeting.


Other comments:

1)    The field floods regularly showing the effects of this in vegetation.

2)    SCDC have not objected so far in the planning process.

3)    The site was .considered a suitable site for development in the 2010 SHLAA

4)    Keeping the field as it is uneconomical.

5)    The Parish Council maintain the Parish Plan view that development should only take place as infill within the physical limits.



The Council considered the opinions expressed in relation to the SCDC Core Strategy policies and formulated the following objections which the Clerk will forward to SCDC: –

1)    The proposed estate is beyond the defined physical limits of Charsfield (SP27 part b).

2)    There is no local support for the proposed estate (SP27 part b). In fact there is active and vociferous opposition: parishioners have organised meetings independently of the Parish Council; 21 objecting parishioners attended the Planning Meeting held on 15th October; the Parish Council unanimously voted to object to the planning application.

3)    The proposed estate does not support or reinforce the individual nature of Charsfield (SP27part a).

4)    Charsfield is within a tributary valley of the Deben River which is listed as a “landscape character area … considered to be particularly significant.” (SP15).

5)    The estate does not relate well in scale to the individual nature of the properties at this end of the village and being sited on an elevated area above the surrounding housing, such an imposing suburban estate will change the character of the village approach (DM21).

6)    The proposed estate is not within a high risk flood area, neither are the existing properties on the South side of The Street, both opposite the development and extending to properties further down Street.  There is indisputable evidence that many of these properties and their gardens have suffered from significant flood damage during periods of heavy rain.  This has been despite the higher ground opposite being of light sandy river valley soil. If the proposed development site is covered with impervious materials due to the construction of dwellings, road, drives etc the run off can only increase and exacerbate the problems already suffered by the properties at lower level (DM28).

7)    As the estate will be on elevated ground there will be significant overlooking, violating the privacy of existing properties (DM23 part a).

8)    This proposed estate will detrimentally limit the outlook from existing properties (DM23 part b).



































































































4       Date of Next Meeting: Tuesday 26th November 2013 in the Village Hall at 7:30pm.


The meeting closed at 9:45pm




Chairman’s Signature: ___________________________               Date: _________

Mr Roberts’ statement:


The proposed scheme arises from my discussion with SCDC about the extraordinary environmental vandalism that was wrought on the Springfield House site earlier this year by its developers, Ipswich based Christchurch Properties Limited, which involved the wholesale destruction of so many century old healthy trees-just compare the attached pdf of how green was the Springfield House site when compared to the present cleared mess.  I then learnt that, i) because of national housing policies binding upon them, the SCDC almost preferred an application for the development of 3 or more residential properties as that apparently triggered the “provision of social housing” obligation, and ii) Christchurch had some “brownie points” with SCDC because they were involved as site developers in a large residential development site adjoining the by-pass outside Saxmundham which will, inter alia, result in the provision of considerable social housing. So, in some respects, SCDC actually may have “hoped” for an initial denser application on the Springfield House site, however perverse that wish would be in the context of the local plan for Charsfield. At the suggestion of SCDC, I met with the Land Agent for Christchurch Properties, and held some preliminary discussions investigating the possibility of agreeing a joint development which could have involved part of my field that borders the Springfield House site. But the conversations led nowhere as it became clear that Christchurch were not long-term investors and were only interested in maximising their short-term profit development gain. So our objectives were incompatible.


The proposed scheme on my field has been entirely put together by the Framlingham architects Hollins in conjunction with talks with the SCDC planners. It is necessarily based on a Suffolk County Council direction that the proposed development site access must be from The Street, and approximately positioned as on the plans I sent to you. I originally suggested access from Chapel Lane approximately opposite the recreational ground and using that entire surrounding land area on my field up to the eastern border of the large Springfield House site with many new trees to be planted within that area to replace those so unhappily lost at Springfield House. But SCC appear adamant that access to any proposed development on my field must be from The Street.


But this is an outline planning application and I believe that the community, and I, as the landowner, may by acting together influence issues like that in the overall consultation process-provided that a wholly negative attitude to any development proposals within Charsfield is not adopted. It is my opinion, after my correspondence with the SCDC planners, that some development within the village is going to be approved by SCDC sooner or later so I believe that it is up to the Village to indicate to SCDC where it is preferred that any new building should be placed, and what related issues and benefits, it is generally felt, matter for Charsfield’s present character and future needs.  My scheme is intended to widen that discussion beyond the Springfield House development issues, and the two previously identified Charsfield sites for possible residential development-one of which has always seemed to provoke strong feelings of hostility and opposition within the village. I regard no detail of my proposal as “cast in stone” and not variable to meet the reasonable demands of the Charsfield community although I should add a caution that it is quite possible that the SCDC social housing requirements-being presently unknown in exact scope or cost-could still make any approved scheme uneconomic for development. Please feel free to circulate this email to any of your Parish Council colleagues who you think would like to know this historic detail and background.


Kind regards to all from David A Roberts

Letter from Cherry Lewis:




Personal details removed.