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East Bergholt residents take fight to stop homes being built in Constable country to High Court

PUBLISHED: 16:49 07 December 2016 | UPDATED: 16:49 07 December 2016

East Bergholt village centre.

East Bergholt village centre.

Residents living in a picturesque village in the heart of Constable country have taken their battle to block a development they believe will be a blot on the landscape made famous by the artist to London’s High Court.

The Street in East Bergholt. The Street in East Bergholt.

Lawyers for East Bergholt Parish Council brought the debate before one of the UK’s top judges, Mr Justice Mitting, yesterday.

They put forward the argument that Babergh District Council should not allow the development – because it isn’t in keeping with residents’ vision for the village.

Authorities throughout the country are closely watching the legally complex case as it is expected to result in a signpost judgement on the approach to be adopted by all councils in future to community development proposals.

The Suffolk village is best known as the birthplace of John Constable.

Lawyers for the village say that Babergh approved the development while the village was still developing its own Neighbourhood Development Plan.

That plan, they note, is in sharp contrast to the development proposed.

Although the case directly relates to only ten houses, David Bowman, the Royds Withy King solicitor acting for the council, said a judgment in their favour could block the development of as many as 415 homes.

“There are a number of parish councils in Suffolk and across rural England that will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of this case. The judgment will clarify how local housing needs should be met in rural locations in view of the ever increasing pressure on local planning authorities to allow residential development”, he said.

“At least three judicial reviews are currently being brought by rural parish councils against Babergh and this case will be the test case which will decide whether hundreds of new homes are built in this beautiful, culturally-significant and as yet unspoilt part of Suffolk.”

The hearing continues. Legal argument is expected to end tomorrow after which the judge is expected to reserve judgment to give a decision in writing later.

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