Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 2°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Sudbury: Battle to save park is lost

07:00 24 January 2013

People

People's Park in Sudbury.

Archant

A TEN-YEAR battle to preserve a historic piece of NHS land as a public park has been lost.

shares

At a meeting yesterday, Babergh District Council planning committee granted outline permission for 100 houses to be built on Harp Close Meadow in Sudbury – or People’s Park as it is known locally.

The 4.5ha site off Waldingfield Road was earmarked for a new hospital but but after plans for a health centre in Church Field Road were agreed, the land became surplus to requirements.

The People’s Park Preservation Association (PPPA) has been fighting for more than a decade to keep the site – which has a history as a park dating back to 1874 – as public open space. But consent granted yesterday will see the meadow transformed with at least 100 residential units and just 1.8ha - or 40% of the site – remaining as public open space, including two separate play areas.

Following yesterday’s decision, West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust confirmed it would now offer the site’s former owners Sudbury Common Land Trust – which sold the land to the NHS in 1987 – the opportunity to purchase it back for the town at the “current market value”.

But last night, PPPA chairman Tony Platt said because outline planning permission had been granted, the value of the land would “rocket” putting it “out of the town’s reach”. He added: “We were very disappointed with the outcome of the meeting because although we would have preferred no development at all on Peoples Park, we had accepted that it is in the local housing plan and were trying to put forward a positive amendment which would have secured a single open meadow space (alongside the houses) for people and wildlife to enjoy.

“But now unless we and the Common Lands Trust can find a way to meet the purchase price, which is highly unlikely, all we can do is to continue to keep a watching brief on this and work with any potential developers to make sure as much as possible of the site remains as public open space.”

During the meeting, committee members raised concerns about limited vehicular access to the proposed development and possible flood risk. Sudbury councillor Adrian Osborne also said open space was “at a premium” in the town’s east ward, adding: “Although I appreciate that housing is needed, it is also critical for residents’ wellbeing that they have access to open space. Please members do not allow Sudbury to become concreted over.”

But his colleague Michael Bamford said the land currently had no official public access or right of way running through it, adding: “So it seems that it is currently a piece of bland open space without any features to make it useable or attractive to people.”

Planning committee chairman Peter Beer said while he felt a second road into the development would have been preferable, he was happy with the open space requirement.

Last night, a West Suffolk Hospital spokesman said the trust was pleased that the council had granted outline planning permission on the site.

“In partnership with the Sudbury Local Liaison Forum, we have worked very hard to develop a high quality scheme which complies with all planning regulations and offers a good balance between housing and open space, and are pleased that this was recognised by the committee,” he said.

“We have a duty to the Department of Health to maximise the value of the land and, if the Common Land Trust do not purchase the site, it remains our intention to enter into a competitive tendering process which will be open to all bidders.”

During the early 1900s People’s Park was used by the Freemen of Sudbury as grazing land for their cattle. After WWII the occasional event took place there, including the South Suffolk Show in the 1950s.

shares

2 comments

  • I went to events there in the 1980s - it is just theft of a public asset.

    Report this comment

    John Green

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

  • ... and the concreting over of green spaces continues. Disappointing for the people of Sudbury. Make a note of the people, Beer and Bamford who support this destruction.

    Report this comment

    Caliope

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

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

The existing play equipment at Badingham Pocket Park which has fallen into disrepair in recent years
L-R Cllr Tim Barber,Cllr Robert Welham,Cllr Gillian Upton,Sue Piggott,Cllr Lynda McQuade.

A plea for funds towards a new playground in a north Suffolk village has been released after the project was awarded £8,000 in grant funding from Tesco to set it on its way.

Ralph Crich suffered a cardiac arrest at Ipwich Town's home game against Fulham on April 19. He has since made a speedy recovery and will be going to watch ITFC against MK Dons tomorrow.

When Ipswich Town fan Ralph Crich left Portman Road 11 days ago, he was, in his own words, nearly dead.

Malcolm Metcalf at the Old Cattle Market bus station in Ipswich.

An 82-year-old man who set himself the challenge of travelling around England on his bus pass has made his stop in Ipswich.

Leiston

Residents are split over proposals submitted for 100 homes plus a new pub on farmland.

Match Centre

Live match updates from Ipswich Town’s final home game of the season, against Milton Keynes Dons.

Neighbours objecting to the original proposed demolition of Woodbridge police station for housing

Plans to turn an empty police station into housing have been knocked back at the second time of asking.

Firefighters were called to a caravan blaze at Heybridge.

A woman and a child were treated for smoke inhalation after a static caravan was destroyed by fire in Essex.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24