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East Bergholt campaigners will ‘continue the fight’ after Babergh District Council approves 144 new homes in village

PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 March 2016

Peter Dent, chairman of Action East Bergholt

Peter Dent, chairman of Action East Bergholt

Parish councils should not go to the trouble of drawing up neighbourhood plans.

That is the message from East Bergholt’s chairman after Babergh District Council approved a development of 144 homes which had been vehemently opposed by people living in the village.

Set in an area of Suffolk countryside immortalised by the paintings of John Constable, the new development will cover nearly 19 acres of land north-west of Moore’s Lane.

Yesterday, a meeting of Babergh’s planning committee approved the plans in full, though angry opposition campaigners have said they will now seek a judicial review.

Paul Ireland, chairman of East Bergholt Parish Council, said the decision was a disappointing one.

“The planning committee has ridden roughshod over two years of work and a huge level of support from the local community,” Dr Ireland said.

“Standing here today, given the amount of work I know is involved, I would recommend any parish council not to go to the trouble of developing a neighbourhood plan if it’s going to be ignored as ours has.”

Peter Dent, chairman of the group Action East Bergholt, said the decision was “sadly very predictable”.

“They just rammed it through; they ignored the neighbourhood plan totally,” he said

“A huge amount of work was put in, everybody put money in. People who couldn’t afford were putting money into the pot – that shows what sort of feeling was in the village.

“We continue the fight, now through the courts. There will be a judicial review.

“We’ve also gone to the Secretary of State asking him to call it in at the same time.”

Within the 144-home site there will be 50 affordable homes built, a mixture of one and two-bed apartments, two and three-bedroom houses and three-bedroom bungalows, along with 94 open-market homes ranging from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom houses.

Peter Beer, chairman of the planning committee, said: “It is never an easy decision to build on a greenfield site, but after every aspect of this development was taken into account, the majority of members felt that the need to provide new affordable homes, not just for East Bergholt, but for the wider district, could not be ignored.”

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