Anger in East Bergholt as controversial homes plans backed by Babergh

Peter Dent, chairman of Action East Bergholt, was "mortified" by the decision to allow the new homes

Peter Dent, chairman of Action East Bergholt, was "mortified" by the decision to allow the new homes in the village. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Controversial plans for nearly 230 new homes in John Constable’s home village have again been backed by Babergh District Council.

But the decision prompted fury among campaigners who had been fighting the proposals, claiming they would ruin Constable Country.

Peter Dent, from Action East Bergholt, said he was “mortified” by the decision – but insisted the fight might not be over.

It was the second time the planning committee had backed the proposal – they were approved in March last year but that decision was overturned following a judicial review obtained by East Bergholt Parish Council which had challenged Babergh’s procedures.

Mr Dent said said: “We shall have to see what the parish council want to do. They might talk to their lawyers again over a new judicial review. That’s really the only hope now.”

The committee approved three applications – for 144 homes on land next to Moores Lane, for 10 homes for the over-55s next to Gatton House, and 75 on land next to the Constable Country Medical Centre. All three applications were opposed by the parish council.

Christopher McEwen, from the community housing group which is backed by the parish council, said it had identified the need to build 86 new homes in the village, and had identified sites for half of those new homes.

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They would vary in size and include social housing to help those who are unable to afford to live in East Bergholt at present – but that could only go ahead if the developers’ plans were rejected.

He told the committee: “East Bergholt is a particularly historic village and must be protected from this monstrous scheme.”

Emma Woods, from developers Countryside Properties, described the Moores Lane proposal as “high quality” homes and said the plans had not changed since the committee granted permission for them last year.

She said there had only been 30 new homes built in the village since 2001 and house prices in East Bergholt had quadrupled since 1998. The site was on the opposite side of the village from the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

She added: “We believe it is low density, suitable development for an attractive village like East Bergholt.”

Nick Ridley, Chairman of Babergh’s planning committee, said: “These were complicated applications, with their history, the recent High Court ruling and the public submissions throughout the planning process all demanding considerable deliberation.

“After long debate, taking each application on its own merits, the Committee felt that the proposals all met the requirements laid out in local and national planning policy and so resolved to approve each in turn.”

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