Suffolk: Plans for Elmswell petrol station rejected
Plans for a new service station in Elmswell were rejected after concerns about traffic levels were underestimated.
The applicant appealed because Mid Suffolk Borough Council had not decided whether to approve the proposals that had been put to it last September.
The council’s development committee was “willing” to deny the request at last year’s meeting, but decided to wait for further advice from officials before making a decision.
The reasons for this support for the rejection were highways and heritage concerns. An independent council of transport advisers hired by the council after September found road safety was a valid reason for the rejection.
According to the Council’s advisers, the applicant’s advisers underestimated the volume of traffic that would result from the service station.
Council advisers said: “This clearly has implications for the conclusions being drawn about the capacity of the roundabout on the A1088 – in particular its interaction with vehicles exiting the development.
“This also affects the tendency for excessive queues on the side roads off the A14.”
The property proposed by the applicants borders a DVSA building and is located north-east of the A14 federal highway.
The development would have included a four-pump gas station, retail store, two drive-through restaurants and parking lot.
Councilors’ fears over the legacy at the September meeting were not seen by officials as a reason for the rejection.
The nearby heritage sites are the Grade II Listed Church of St Mary Woolpit, the star listed St John Church Elmswell and the Grade II Listed Crossways.
The officials’ report, considered by the committee on Wednesday, said: “The advice of planning officials is that the public benefits associated with the provision of the proposed businesses and services outweigh the harm to heritage importance.”
They considered the magnitude of the damage to the assets to be “low levels of less than significant”.
Historic England was not opposed to the petrol station, but 66 out of 68 representations from local residents supported objections.
The planning statement from the applicant, Euro Garages Ltd, states: ‘The works would result in an active and sustainable long-term use of a vacant, strategically located plot of land on the A14.
“They would bring significant benefits to the local economy and improve the region’s social infrastructure.”