Bid to protect famous landscape

ANGRY residents have joined a growing campaign to stop a proposed development of 170 homes from “desecrating” a picturesque valley made famous by legendary painter Thomas Gainsborough.

ANGRY residents have joined a growing campaign to stop a proposed development of 170 homes from “desecrating” a picturesque valley made famous by legendary painter Thomas Gainsborough.

About 250 campaigners packed a public meeting on Wednesday night in Great Cornard to express their anger at the proposals, which they claim could destroy views immortalised by the artist in a number of his paintings.

Local MP Tim Yeo has also offered his “unequivocal support” for the campaigners opposed to the plan at Carsons Drive, which has been controversially included in the area's proposed local plan following a planning inspector's report.

He said: “This is a very bad proposal indeed. It is significant it has only came about because of a planning inspector's report - it wasn't in the original local plan. We should fight this every inch of the way.”


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The meeting, which forms part of the planning process, was organised by Great Cornard Parish Council, and also saw the launch of the Save Gainsborough Country Action Group (SGCAG).

At the meeting the parish council rejected the plan for Carsons Drive citing fears over the impact on local amenities and the environment.

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The artist's view of Cornard Wood, near Sudbury, which he painted in 1748 from the grounds of Abbas Hall, Little Cornard, has become symbolic for the group but they are also angry that measures to protect land in the valley from development have been ignored.

Stefan Kosciusko, chairman of the SGCAG, believes the planning inspector's proposals for the area's local plan could have far-reaching implications for other Special Landscape Areas within the Babergh district.

“If this is allowed it is open shooting season for all SLA's throughout the District,” he said. “This meeting showed the total and unanimous support of the community to reject this proposed development.

“This desecration of historic landscape incorporating Gainsborough views cannot be permitted. I call upon all Babergh district residents to express their written objections to this during the public consultation period.”

Mr Kosciusko expressed his hope that councillors considering the Carsons Drive site as part of the local plan would overrule this “potential injustice” before it is adopted later this year.

A Babergh District Council spokesman said: “Our officers were pleased to have the opportunity to listen to the points of view expressed at the public meeting held to discuss the proposal.

“Equally, they were able to use the opportunity to emphasise that residents have six weeks to make observations on this and any other of the relatively few significant modifications to the local plan arising out of the inspector's report.”

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