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Babergh: Villagers have been branded ‘nimbys’ and urged to ‘embrace growth’

17:52 18 March 2014

Simon Barrett

Simon Barrett


Villagers will need to change their “nimby” attitudes and “embrace development” if their communities are to survive and thrive, a leading councillor has warned.

Babergh’s recently ratified high level planning document for the next 20 years centres on growing employment and solving a housing shortage in the district.

The target is to build 6,000 new homes to meet predicted growth and create 9,700 jobs by 2031.

The core strategy document, which has just been signed off by a Government inspector, makes it clear that Babergh’s core towns of Sudbury and Hadleigh cannot take all of the new homes, and that villages will have to play their part.

Before the document was updated, building could only occur well within a defined village boundary.

But according to Simon Barrett, the council’s lead member for economic development and planning, the new strategy will increase the area around villages that can be built upon.

He said: “We have a serious shortage of housing in Babergh and need to address that. But in the past, we have almost restricted growth in villages.

“Some have rallied against housing developments and have adopted a ‘nimby’ attitude of accepting that we need new homes as long as they are ‘not on our doorsteps’.

“But to keep things such as schools, pubs or shops viable, villages will have to adopt a sensible approach to development in order to survive. Our challenge is to get these communities on board with the idea of growth.”

The main development will still occur in core villages such as Nayland, Leavenheath and Bures but according to Mr Barrett, the “hinterland villages” that are fed by those core villages are where more growth is needed.

In a bid to encourage people to “buy into the core strategy” district councillors will hold workshops in the villages, and their will be a greater emphasis on consultation with parish councils.

Mr Barrett continued: “A lot of people think ‘localism’ is a chance to just say no to development and it’s not. It’s about getting everyone on board, coming up with sensible plans and making the right decisions based on the evidence.”

Babergh councillor Brynn Hurren, who has been pushing for affordable housing in Boxford, wants the idea to be expanded to tiny hamlets such as Lindsey and Groton, where he believes new homes would be welcomed.

He said: “Some of the smaller villages like Groton, which are neither core nor hinterland villages, have been left out of the loop because they’re not seen as sustainable as they don’t have a shop or bus, so you can’t build there.

“Many of these places are half their original size in terms of population and I don’t see why we should freeze development if the people want it.

“Edwardstone is a perfect example. Around 10 years ago, six affordable homes were built there and that has been a great success. The people who live in them use the amenities in nearby Boxford so it works really well.”

In light of the core strategy, individual policies are being reviewed by a ‘task and finish’ group.

Against officer recommendations, the council turned down three controversial proposals for solar and wind farms in rural parts of the district during the past year. Mr Barrett said it was important for members to have clear guidance on such matters to avoid ‘emotional’ decisions.


  • Having moved to Babergh from Kent 5+ years ago, I still struggle to comprehend how long it takes Babergh to carry forward the simplest of requests. Some moving and shaking on their part would be appropriate. We know that Suffolk is renowned for its leisurely pace but without an injection of 21st century enthusiasm for change, all will be lost. They could start with public transport which is pretty much non existent.

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    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

  • Fill the thousands of empty homes with families first and foremost then consider the options.

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    sue douglas

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

  • the man is right [ to many nimbys about , mostly with one foot in the grave]also bus firms cannot afford to run empty buses round the countryside..i am nearly 80 years old when the comments come in.think about the future for the people left.

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    Wednesday, March 19, 2014

  • If they are to expand villages major investment is needed in public transport. The current public transport is dire and getting worse. I do not see that happening though.

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    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

  • If they are to expand villages major investment is needed in public transport. The current public transport is dire and getting worse. I do not see that happening though.

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    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

  • Since when did Babergh listen to any village's opinion positive or negative about a planning decision. They show complete disregard for Parish Councils and village residents. They shouldn't have any problem meeting their "target" as they ride roughshod over the rural communities they are responsible for. As BobE says you cannot keep building in rural areas when there is no infrastructure or public transport. How patronising is this man?

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    Cob Webb

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

  • the people living in the new houses will be happy if left alone.

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    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • One thing you can be certain Simon Barrett will support all development except if it is in his back yard

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    David T Fisk

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014

  • I would suggest Mr Barrett pays a vist to Bures to see the latest infill development, 35 homes on a 3.5acre piece of land in the centre of the village. It is totally out of keeping with the rest of the properties with high pitched roofs and fibreglass chimneys ! You can even see this appalling development from as far away as Wormingford. We refer to the Social Housing part of the development at East Berlin. The pavements are not level and one private property is totally covered with bright blue masonry paint. If this was in the High Street it would never be allowed. The site regularly floods as the developer has filled in a surrounding ditch and ripped up the old land drains It`s an eyesore and even local estate agents cannot understand why this ever got passed the planning stage.The Planning Committee sit in their ivory tower at Babergh and either press a button or hold up their hand to approve such schemes but they have no interest in the consequences of their actions. But why should they, they live far away from Bures such as Sudbury, Hadleigh, Sproughton, Shotley etc Well over 100 parishioners responded to the planning application concerning the density but as far as I am aware none of this was even considered by the Planning Committee. I recall one local newspaper with the headline " Bures parishioners given short thrift by Babergh" Come on Mr Barrett get into the real world !!!

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    Friday, March 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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