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Yoxford: Sir Paul Newall joins villagers’ housing fight

PUBLISHED: 12:04 30 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:25 30 January 2014

Mike Page Aerials

Yoxford 2012

Mike Page Aerials Yoxford 2012

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A knight of the realm will be among those battling to oppose a contentious housing development at a public inquiry next month.

Sir Paul Newall fears Hopkins Homes’ application to build near his property in Yoxford would set a “dangerous precedent” for future development on historic parkland.

Along with other villagers opposed to the 26-dwelling development, Sir Paul will be arguing his case before the Planning Inspectorate in Woodbridge on February 11 and 12.

“Our main concern is that this is just the start of future encroachment into what is a historic parkland with special environmental value,” he said.

“In other words they’re using a sprat to catch a mackerel.”

Sir Paul, a former Lord Mayor of London, has backed the opposition ever since last October’s public meeting to discuss the proposals saw an “unprecedented” turn-out.

He said that in all his 34 years at Grove Park, the home in the village he shares with his wife Lady Penelope, he had never known an issue to provoke such strong feeling.

Hopkins Homes said the site had been selected as the only area in Yoxford identified by the planning authority as being suitable for development in what was a “preferred location” for new housing.

While acknowledging the precedent for allowing green field development Sir Paul insists the land at Old High Road was of special value.

“It’s not just any old green field site - it’s historic parkland,”he said.

Sir Paul believes Yoxford’s characteristic “rumpled” landscape with its hills and dales had been created by glaciers during the ice age and warranted preserving.

Along with her husband, Lady Penelope, said the “very attractive” landscape is enjoyed by visitors in all weather and she feels “very strongly” that it should be retained.

Tim Williams, who has been co-ordinating the public opposition, will also speak at next month’s inquiry and said he feels “positive” that with the district council’s support the opponents will succeed.

“In a political environment where localism should be at the forefront of the decision making, this just looks like a big building company trying to muscle their way in an overrule the local views,” he said.

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