Concreting over one of Britain’s most iconic sites for parking would be ‘sacrilegious’, councillor claims
- Credit: citizenside.com
Proposals to extend a car park into “one of Britain’s most iconic sites” have prompted a community backlash.
Framlingham Town Council has agreed to consult over the potential expansion of The Elms car park, after a heated meeting and a narrow 6-5 vote in favour.
As part of the Framlingham’s parking strategy to increase capacity in the town, the plans would see The Elms extended into The Mere, a historic site over-looked by Framlingham Castle, and a registered nature reserve best known for its rare sedge beds.
The prospect of intruding into such a treasured site, which the Suffolk Wildlife Trust says is considered by many to be the “best view in inland Suffolk”, has proved divisive since the outset.
In February, councillor Stephanie Bennell made calls to save as much open space as possible rather than “sacrifice it to the insatiable demand of the motorcar”.
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Town clerk Eileen Coe said the latest meeting on Thursday was also “quite heated” with 18 members of the public attending, mainly to object The Elms proposals. “Most commented on the flooding issue and loss of green space,” she added. “Others lamented the perceived missed opportunities for small parcels of land that could have been used for parking.”
The council’s parking working group will progress the project to the next stage, which will involve consultation with Suffolk Wildlife Trust, English Heritage, Suffolk Preservation Society and “any other bodies considered necessary at this stage”.
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Christopher Hudson, who represents Framlingham at Suffolk Coastal District Council, said the proposals were unpopular in the town.
“To me, it would be sacrilege to concrete over one of Britain’s most iconic sites,” he added.
Framlingham Residents Association said it would be awaiting the outcome of the consultation before commenting further.
In a letter to this newspaper, Framlingham resident Jane Bloom criticised the proposals.
She said the Mere dated back 3,000 years and should be “ring fenced so that it can be enjoyed now and for future generations”.
Mrs Coe has sought to correct the letter’s claim that council chairman Philip Collins made a casting vote to secure the outcome. She said the vote was 6-5 in favour without a casting vote.