Forty-seven homes refused in Sutton over concern it could 'destroy' family home built for severely disabled son

Sutton development refused over concerns it would ‘destroy a family’s life’
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Plans to build 47 new homes in Sutton have been refused after concerns were raised it could “destroy” a neighbouring family who care for their severely disabled son.

East Cambridgeshire District Council rejected the plans arguing it did not provide a “suitable housing mix” to meet the needs of the area, and that it “failed to protect the amenity” of a disabled neighbour.

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The planning application put forward by Abbey Development Ltd proposed to build the new homes on land off Garden Close.

Plans to build 47 new homes here, in Sutton, have been refused.Plans to build 47 new homes here, in Sutton, have been refused.
Plans to build 47 new homes here, in Sutton, have been refused.

The proposals included 28 two-bedroom homes, 19 of which would be bungalows, 13 three-bedroom homes, seven of which would be bungalows, and six four-bedroom homes.

Of the total homes, 33 were proposed to be made available for market sale, and 14 were proposed to be designated as affordable housing.

Outline approval was previously granted on appeal to build up to 53 homes on the land.

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The latest application set out in detail what the proposed development of 47 homes would look like, which also included plans for a children’s play area and a nature reserve.

In planning documents submitted as part of the planning application it said: “The proposal takes account of the need to make the most efficient use of the land, whilst balancing this with its impact upon the local environment.

“The development provides for a good quality scheme which assists in meeting private and affordable housing needs.”

At a district council planning committee meeting this week (April 26) councillors heard that concerns had been raised by a family neighbouring the site about the impact the development could have on their ability to care for their severely disabled son.

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In the planning documents that developer said they had made adjustments to take into account the concerns of the family, including proposing a two-metre acoustic fence on the boundary of the site near to their home, as well as a landscape and tree buffer area.

‘This would destroy us as a family’

However, the family told the committee that they were still worried about the impact the development could have on their lives.

Mrs Wood said: “We have put immense effort and a lot of money into designing and building a bespoke lifetime home that meets the needs of our severely disabled son.

“We, his parents, are the only people who have expertise to do this, having cared for him day and night for the last 18 years and giving up our careers to do so.”

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She said her son had severe learning disabilities that meant he sensed the world around him differently and could lead to behaviours the people who did not know him could find “disturbing”.

Mrs Wood said she was worried that if the proposed development should cause the care setting they had created for their son to “fail”, he could have to be moved miles away from them.

She said: “This would destroy us as a family. This is why we are so concerned about the potential risks associated with that development. We and the adult services team believe this application puts our son’s setting at risk of failing.”

Mrs Wood said they had put forward suggestions to the developers to adapt the plans, including asking for them to reduce the “overbearing nature of the fence” and improve security. She also said they had also offered to buy a land buffer.

Refusal vote

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Councillor Lorna Dupré described the proposed development as being “cramped and crammed”,

Planning officers had said they believed that while the application did not “precisely” follow the housing assessment, they said it “does positively contribute to small homes”.

Councillor John Trapp said he believed the application should be refused on the grounds that the development would “fail to protect the amenity” of the neighbouring family due to the proposed two-metre fence, and because the development was not “predominantly bungalows” and did not offer a “suitable housing mix”.

Councillor Christine Ambrose Smith suggested that the committee should defer making a decision for a “very short period”, in order to ask the relevant people to “get round the table” and come to an arrangement.

The suggestion to defer did not receive enough support and when the decision on the application was put to a vote the majority of councillors voted to refuse it.

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