December 9 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Concerns have been raised over plans to build a car park near a village beauty spot in west Suffolk.
Whelnetham Parish Council has submitted a planning application for a visitor car park near the entrance to one end of Whelnetham Railway Walk - an area popular with walkers and nature lovers. The council says it wants a car park with eight spaces to improve access to the site for families with small children and those with restricted mobility.
But there have been numerous objections to the scheme saying it will destroy important habitat, be out of keeping with the rest of the area and create a dangerous entrance onto a busy road.
But chairman of Whelnetham Parish Council, Chris Thomson, said advice had been taken from highways and wildlfe experts before the plans were drawn up.
He said: “We have spoken to the highways people at Suffolk County Council before we went ahead with our plans and Suffolk Wildlife Trust have no objections to what we are proposing.
“What we are planning is a small car park designed to help people who might not be able to walk to the site. Most of the objections come from people living locally but there is no adequate parking provision for people coming from further afield.”
Mr Thomson said the cost of the project was between £4,000 and £5,000 and that the plan was to replace any trees that would have have to be cut down to make way for the car park with a newly-planted community orchard.
But a lead campaigner against the plans, villager Matthew Attwood, said people are “petrified the car park will change the look and apsect of the area”.
He added: “There are rare species of flowers down there and important habitat will be detroyed to build the car park. We feel a proper survey of the area needs to be carried out before any work begins.
“Highway regulations stipulate that the car park must be made of tarmac and that will change the character of the place. Local people are also concerned the car park will attract wrong-doers late at night and become a security issue for people living near by.”
Mr Attwood also complained there had not been adequate consultation with the community on the plans.
Mr Thomson said the parish council was due to meet in September when they will consider the objections that have been made.