Foxearth/Liston: Village moves to break parish alliance in the wake of major development plans

Representatives in Liston are seeking independence from Foxearth.

Representatives in Liston are seeking independence from Foxearth. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A tiny north Essex community is seeking to make a power grab from a neighbouring village to “regain control” of its future.

Liston and Foxearth, which are near Sudbury, but just over the Essex border are separate villages but they share a parish council.

However, one figurehead from Liston, which is overshadowed in size by Foxearth, said the village finds in ‘intolerable’ that it is not in control of its own destiny.

Out of the 250 electors in the parish, only 43 of them – and just one of the six parish councillors – are from Liston.

The move to dissolve a “Grouping Order” from 1976 which joined the two parishes was announced by members of the Liston Residents’ Association.

According to Foxearth & Liston parish council chairman, Clive Waite, the proposal has come from a row that has been simmering for the past two years concerning plans to develop a former industrial site in Liston with up to 100 new homes, which would quadruple the size of the village.

The scheme proposed by Redding Park Developments for the old Bush Boake Allen chemical plant at Stafford Park would include homes, a pub and workshops. Until 2003, the site in Glemsford Road was used by Bush Boake Allen Ltd as a flavourings plant and a number of derelict factory buildings remain.

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When initial plans went on show earlier this year, Allan Binks, chairman of the residents’ association, said there were concerns because the development would be on an area of land at risk of severe flooding. It could also result in a big increase in vehicles and congestion along narrow country roads.

He said: “Braintree District Council has said the site is entirely unsuitable for residential development due to its isolated rural location, difficult access and position in an area at risk of flooding.”

Now Mr Binks has issued a statement saying the decision to go for independence followed growing concerns regarding the breakdown of trust between the villagers of Liston and some members of the parish council who were felt to be “promoting” Stafford Park development.

He said: “Liston residents find it intolerable that the future of their community is being determined by a small group from a neighbouring village, whose lives will in no way be affected by any redevelopment of the Stafford Park site, whereas the quality of life of those in Liston would be seriously disrupted by the proposed development, which would increase the size of the village from 23 to about 150 dwellings on a site that is deemed to be unsuitable for housing by our district council planning officers.

“In the interest of good governance, we have therefore applied to regain control of the future of our village.”

Mr Waite said he sympathised with Liston residents who had inherited a “very difficult situation”.

He added: “From the democratic perspective, the parish council is a statutory consultee and as such will be asked for its opinion if and when a planning application is submitted to the district council.

“The folks in Liston know there’s every prospect that their own interest not to develop the site could be drowned out by numerical superiority of Foxearth, where the interest is not quite the same.

“The whole issue of Stafford Park is almost exclusively going to be down to planning policy in the end.”