Constable country centre 'not needed'

A CAMPAIGNER has insisted there is no need for a heritage centre to celebrate rural life in Constable country.But last night the man spearheading the ambitious plans, Stephen Bunting, said the creation of Horkesley Park would be beneficial for local people and would improve their quality of life.

By Roddy Ashworth

A CAMPAIGNER has insisted there is no need for a heritage centre to celebrate rural life in Constable country.

But last night the man spearheading the ambitious plans, Stephen Bunting, said the creation of Horkesley Park would be beneficial for local people and would improve their quality of life.

Will Pavry, chairman of the Stour Valley Action Group, said he and the organisation's members objected to proposals by local firm Bunting and Sons to establish the 120-acre country park in Great Horkesley.


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The scheme, which was unveiled last week, would see more than 180 jobs created in the local area.

As well as the landscaped park, the project would involve an art gallery, a Suffolk Punch breeding centre and a section dedicated to the life and times of East Anglian artist John Constable.

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Mr Pavry, who lives close to the redundant tomato nurseries where the centre would be built, said: "We simply don't think it's needed or justified.

"We already live in a beautiful part of the countryside. We do not need the kind of enhancement being offered.

"We are concerned about the traffic and retail impact. We are not sure if the A134 would be safe or could sustain the amount of traffic it would generate.

"Our view is that however it is portrayed, Buntings and Sons are going to be employing 180-odd people and in order to pay for them they are going to need a very large number of people through the doors.

"Most of these people will come during summer and at peak weekends."

Mr Pavry, who lives in Water Lane, Great Horkesley, added: "One has to say it appears to be a way for Buntings to make a great deal of money out of the greenhouse site at the expense of local residents."

However, Mr Bunting yesterday rebutted Mr Pavry's claims.

"Bunting and Sons will ensure that Horkesley Park makes sufficient profit to be viable but it is wrong of Mr Pavry to say that our proposals are just a way to make a great deal of money at the expense of local people," he said.

"Horkesley Park will be very beneficial for local people and it will improve their quality of life."

He added that a transport assessment, carried out by national specialists, had concluded the scheme would generate only a modest amount of traffic during peak periods.

"The Stour Valley Action Group is controlled by a committee, the members of which appear to do very little, if anything, to improve the rural economy," Mr Bunting claimed.

"Such improvement is essential to reverse the trend of balanced rural communities being lost along with village shops and other facilities.

"Horkesley Park will be a huge benefit to the rural economy and for Colchester Borough."

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