COUNCILLORS have voiced their opposition to controversial plans to build 100 homes on an area of open space near to a town centre.

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Members of Sudbury Town Council’s planning and development committee met on Monday night to discuss proposals for developing the green field site at Harp Close Meadow, known locally as People’s Park.

The 4.4hectares of land to the east of Sudbury town centre are owned by the Secretary of State for Health and West Suffolk Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The proposed development includes 35 affordable homes and sets aside 40% of the land for play areas and open space.

But the plans face opposition from local residents, who have campaigned for years for the entire area to be kept as a recreational open space.

With members of the public packed into the chamber, councillors voted to object to the proposals on the grounds of over-development of the site, concerns about floodwater run-off and fears the extra traffic would exacerbate congestion on Waldingfield Road, which runs alongside the plot.

The town council is one of 19 bodies who have been consulted on the application, prior to it going before Babergh District Council’s development committee for a final decision.

Cllr Jack Owen said: “The fact that we have so many people in this room is testament to the strength of feeling there is about this issue.

“It is clear we have very little open space in the centre of Sudbury and this is a wonderful opportunity to keep it for young people and to develop it as open space to encourage wild flowers and the like.”

Cllr Oliver Forder added: “This is over-development writ large. It [the development] is unwanted by local residents. What is wanted is that it be maintained as open space for Sudbury.”

Founder of residents group The People’s Park Preservation Association (PPA), Jill Fisher spoke of the land’s ecological value and said it was home to 51 types of wildflower and many birds species.

Representing West Suffolk Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, planning consultant Tim Harbord said the plans had been designed to provide two large open spaces amounting to 1.8hectares for recreational use. He added the proposals were in line with recommendations in the Babergh District Local Plan.

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