'We must fight to prevent unwanted development' - Crowd-funding campaign launched to fight AONB housing
PUBLISHED: 16:42 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:01 24 July 2018
A crowd-funding campaign has been launched to stop new homes being built in one of Suffolk's Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Aldeburgh Society is leading the fight against an appeal to build 43 homes in the town which its members fear would set a “dangerous precedent”.
MS Oakes Ltd’s proposals for the former Reades Brickworks off Saxmundham Road were rejected by Suffolk Coastal District Council’s planning committee, against officer recommendations, in November 2016.
Now, the developers have appealed the decision, which is due to be heard at a public inquiry at Aldeburgh Community Centre from September 11.
With the inquiry expected to last six days, the Aldeburgh Society has launched its JustGiving page to help pay for legal costs.
Katherine Mackie, chairman of the Aldeburgh Society, said: “If a property developer is allowed to build on this greenfield site, in an AONB, then a precedent will have been established and other sites in Aldeburgh and beyond could be at risk.
“We must fight to prevent this unwanted development.”
Campaigners say the area contains a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) next to a designated Ramsar area, in recognition of its importance as waterfowl habitat.
Aldeburgh Town Council, which recommended refusal of the original application, is supporting the campaign.
Town mayor John Digby said: “Aldeburgh Town Council and SCDC turned down this development for very good reasons.
“Make no mistake, the result of this inquiry could have serious ramifications for the town and the extended Heritage Coast.”
The original application led to scores of objections from residents as well as organisations including the Suffolk Coast and Heaths the Suffolk Preservation Society, and the RSPB.
The scheme would involve demolition of redundant stores and change of use of the builders yard, which has been derelict for several years. The 43 homes would include 14 affordable properties.
Suffolk Coastal District Council’s planning chief Tony Fryatt said the council will “vigorously defend” its refusal.
“Suffolk Coastal welcomes the right sort of development in the right places, but we also have a responsibility to protect our unique environment,” he added.
MS Oakes Ltd declined to comment until the inquiry.
Visit www.campaign.aldeburghsociety.org.uk for more about the Just Giving campaign.
People can also text £5 of £10 to AONB01 to make donations.