Residents protest as Exning homes plan is given go-ahead
Eighty people protested outside a planning meeting last night, where councillors approved a bid to build 120 new homes in Exning.
Villagers and members of the Exning Action Group gathered outside Forest Heath District Council’s offices in Mildenhall, where members of the authority’s Development Control Committee voted 13 to three in favour of the plans.
The application for the development, which was put forward by developer Charles Church last year, will see 120 homes built on 14 acres of agricultural land south of Burwell Road.
Exning Parish Council objected to the plans, which also attracted 315 letters from Exning residents and a 900-signature petition.
Despite opposition, councillors agreed to approve the proposal with an added condition, proposed by Cllr Rona Burt, that 30 homes were built each year, rather than all 120 at once.
Speaking after the meeting, Simon Cole, spokesman for Exning Action Group, said: “It’s disappointing. I think Exning has suffered here because of Newmarket’s lack of space. If Suffolk has no small villages left, they are gone forever.”
Neil Williams, district councillor for Exning, objected to the proposal saying it would increase traffic in the village’s already busy roads.
He said: “I can tell you now from great experience that from 8am to 9am and 4pm to 6pm Burwell Road and Oxford Street are a real danger. I can’t believe any more traffic can make it any easier.”
Bill Sadler, district councillor for St Mary’s in Newmarket, also objected.
He said: “We are supposed to decide things for the benefit of our residents and they are absolutely opposed to this scheme. It’s not the right thing to do to force something like this on a village that doesn’t want it.”
The application includes plans for one to five-bedroom homes, 36 of which would be affordable, and improvements to the local road network.
Cllr Burt said: “I have every sympathy with the residents of Exning, the objections we have received and the volume of residents here tonight, but I have to say there are no material considerations that we can give to refuse this application.”
Mr Cole said the action group planned to appeal the decision.
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