Village's legal challenge over decision to approve more than 200 homes

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Bob McGeady is advising Thurston Parish Council on the legal challenge - Credit: Dave Richardson/BigPhatPhotos

Thurston Parish Council has launched a legal challenge over a decision to approve a development of more than 200 homes in the village.

In December, Mid Suffolk District Council planners gave a Bloor Homes scheme of up to 210 homes, open space and associated infrastructure off Beyton Road the green light.

However, community leaders have argued that the site for the development was not included inside the village's boundary when the proposals were considered by the district council's planning committee last January.

beyton road thurston

The homes have been approved for land south of Beyton Road, Thurston - Credit: Google Earth

The parish council has enlisted Ashtons Legal in its bid to overturn the decision - believing there to be a "number of defects" in planners' decision making.

Ashtons, which has said it is bringing judicial review proceedings against Mid Suffolk, also argue planning committee members were "wrongly advised about the risks of refusing permission".

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Victoria Waples, clerk to Thurston Parish Council, said permission for five developments outside the previous village boundary - a total of 818 homes - had been approved since 2017.

She said: "The village of Thurston has been the subject of a great deal of development pressure in recent years.

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"The Thurston Neighbourhood Plan that was adopted in October 2019 sought to restrict development to keep it within the current village boundary, giving the new development time to be assimilated.

"The parish council has consistently objected to the district council’s proposed strategy for the village as the local plan has been developed."

Bob McGeady, Ashtons' planning consultant, said a similar legal challenge over homes in Woolpit had recently been given the go-ahead for trial.

He said: "I have seen too often circumstances where larger councils look to dominate the planning process, to the detriment of small, local parish councils.

"This is one such example so to be able to help Thurston Parish Council is something I am glad to have been involved in. A judge will now decide whether or not the proceedings should proceed to trial."

A spokesman for Mid Suffolk said: "Our council acknowledges the legal challenge lodged by Thurston Parish Council, and will now consider the issues raised before awaiting the outcome of the judicial review."

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