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Bury St Edmunds: Groups united to preserve Leg of Mutton field

13:00 26 January 2014

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Heritage groups are set to fight to stop a unique piece of land from becoming host to a hotel as part of a town’s rapid expansion.

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The Bury Society and the Bury Water Meadow group have united to try to preserve the town’s 15-hectare Leg of Mutton field.

Tuesday sees the start of the eagerly-anticipated public inquiry into Vision 2031, the planning document which outlines future development across St Edmundsbury.

The Water Meadows group will appeal to the planning inspector, Roger Clews, to pass a ruling blocking any development near the expanse of agricultural land, instead leaving it as an area of open public access.

Andrew Hinchley, the group’s chairman, said: “We believe the inspector will recognise the uniqueness of this land, and that it can be saved without any affect on the St Edmundsbury target of 5,000 new homes.”

The plot of land is flanked by the A14, Rougham Road and the River Lark, and draws its name from its distinctive shape. The west boundary is a well-used foot and cycle path between Moreton Hall and the town centre.

The Vision 2031 document describes the field as an “important open area”, and has it earmarked for outdoor recreational use with associated facilities.

It adds that any development of the land would require strict regulation, and that buildings and other hard landscaping be kept to a minimum and adjoin Rougham Road.

In the same session, representations on behalf of Pigeon Investment Management and Evolution Town Planning will argue for larger-scale hotel and leisure development of the site.

Alan Jary, chairman of the Bury Society, said: “There is a recognised need when town centres expand to conserve natural open space. This area is only just over five minutes walk from Angel Hill.”

The groups will make their representations on Thursday afternoon at The Apex, in the final session of two days assessment and representation from groups concerning Vision 2031’s outline for Bury St Edmunds.

Further sessions will look at Haverhill and rural areas.

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