Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 4°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Bury St Edmunds: Uncertainty over future of Leg of Mutton land

14:33 13 May 2014

Land known as the Leg of Mutton in Bury St Edmunds.

Land known as the Leg of Mutton in Bury St Edmunds.

Martin Lightfoot

The future of a piece of green open space in Bury St Edmunds, which campaigners had hoped would be safeguarded from development, has been plunged into uncertainty.

shares

The Bury St Edmunds Water Meadows Group was formed to protect a patch of land known as the Leg of Mutton, to the west of Rougham Road, which it believes should be fully preserved for future generations as a “green lung for Bury”.

Planning inspector Roger Clews, who led a public inquiry into St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s draft Vision 2031 local plan documents, had recommended the land be designated for “amenity public open space for informal outdoor recreation” and any building should be directly related to that use.

This would prevent sports pitches or a fitness centre from being built at the site, which is a 15-hectare plot of agricultural land owned by a private trust.

But the future of the site has become less clear as it emerged 
that the borough council is looking to object to Mr Clews’ recommendation.

A report which went before a committee meeting last week, and which needs to ratified by the borough council’s cabinet, said: “Policies in a local plan have to be deliverable and, as such, viable and it is considered unlikely that, as a result of this modification, the landowner would receive sufficient return from the uses specified in the policy to enable it to proceed.

“The council also considers that the policy, or supporting paragraphs, should define the meaning of ‘informal recreation’ in order to provide some certainty going forward as to what would be acceptable on the site.”

Andrew Hinchley, chairman of the Bury Water Meadows Group, said he was “flabbergasted” that the council was seeking to object to the inspector’s proposed changes.

He added the council’s objection could put a spanner in the works for the group’s Heritage Lottery Fund bid, which it is yet to submit, to purchase this land for the community.

He said: “It’s a big shock. We are very hopeful the inspector will stand his ground and that’s why I really want to focus on appealing to people to write in and support the inspector’s recommendation.”

He said the campaign group was looking to raise a minimum of £500,000 to purchase the land.

Green councillor Julia Wakelam said: “This land has been farmed for 500 years. The landowners can continue to farm it. No one is forcing them to turn the land into amenity public open space.”
William Stanton, director of Pigeon Investment Management Limited, said the company was still promoting the site for “formal recreation” uses.

“Obviously it’s a commercial asset for them [the landowners] and the council has quite rightly said it has to be made viable for someone to do something,” he said.

A borough council spokeswoman said it was seeking an explanation of what “informal recreation” is and was also asking the inspector to consider whether the modification would make the proposal viable for the landowner to sell it for use as public open space.

She said the council supported “recreational use” of the Leg of Mutton site, adding: “If the permitted uses of the land add no extra value, we are concerned that the owner will have no incentive to sell, making both the council’s and community’s aspirations very difficult to achieve.”

The consultation on the inspector’s modifications ends on May 30. To comment visit the borough council’s website.

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

The scene of a thatch fire in Stoke-by-Nayland

A picturesque country cottage is still standing today despite a fire ripping through its thatched roof.

An Abellio Greater Anglia train

Rail services between London Liverpool Street and Norwich have been cancelled after a train fault at Diss.

Colchester Half-Marathon. Starting and finishing at Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Competitors braved the dismal morning weather today to take part in the Colchester Half Marathon.

The scene after the thatched roof fire in Stoke by Nayland - Picture credit - Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

Ten fire crews tackled a thatched roof blaze in a Suffolk village overnight.

Sir John French: a colourful character and respected soldier

We’ve heard about the Suffolk men who fought at the battle of Neuve Chapelle.

Ipswich Crown Court

A 19-year old man who met up with a 13-year-old girl and exchanged text messages with her despite being given a police caution for kissing her several months earlier has been sentenced to 21 months youth detention.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral overlooking colourful displays in the Abbey Gardens

Suffolk’s most important religious building has been awarded a £300,000 Government grant to pay for urgent roof repairs.

Josephine Murphy

An 86-year-old woman who had gone missing from Clacton has been found safe and well

Aftermath of a barn fire in Holton.

A television antiques expert has appealed for help rebuilding his eco-friendly arts centre in Suffolk after a major blaze destroyed the historic sawmill that was to be its showroom and workshops.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages