Fury at massive housing proposal

ANGER is being voiced at plans to build more than 2,000 new homes which campaigners fear will swamp their Suffolk market town.

A total of 2,136 homes have been earmarked for Sudbury and Great Cornard. But opponents fear the plans will destroy Sudbury as a place to live and a picturesque market town to visit.

The number of homes represents 60 per cent of the total housing growth target set by the Government for Babergh District Council over the next 20 years.

Of a target of 3,560 homes, 2,136 have been earmarked for Sudbury and Great Cornard, the strategy committee at Babergh council will be told today. A further 427 homes, 12 per cent of the total, have been earmarked for Hadleigh.

Stefan Kosciuszko, chairman of the Save Gainsborough Country Action Group and owner of Grade I listed Abbas Hall in Great Cornard, said: “This will represent a massive development intrusion on greenfield sites in and around Sudbury and Great Cornard and will radically affect the sense of a market town that we all love so much.

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“They are creating a new Braintree and I don’t think the residents here will stand for it.”

He added: “The existing infrastructure cannot cope and the proposed Carsons Drive development is just one more flagrant disregard for road safety in this area.”

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Sylvia Byham, a member of Sudbury Town Council, said: “The old agricultural town of Sudbury – that is what it was – will be swamped.

“It is bad enough trying to get into Sudbury at the moment – there is no infrastructure - it goes back to the bypass and we do not need more houses and cars.”

Derek Wells, chairman of the now disbanded People’s Park Association in Sudbury, which fought to stop a green space turning into housing, said: “I think there will be complaints from local residents.”

The report on the core strategy of Babergh’s Local Development Framework - setting out planning until 2031 - from Rich Cooke, planning policy manager, identifies Sudbury at the top of the apex of settlements to take on housing need. Next will come Hadleigh with 12%, the Ipswich fringe area 11%, and 15 ‘key service areas’ including Lavenham, Long Melford, Glemsford and Boxford taking 17% (600 homes) collectively. In total it is estimated up to 7,370 extra houses could be built in Babergh up to 2031, with 3,560 still needing to be allocated to land.

Mr Cooke said Babergh had limited options to meet its housing targets which were set by the Government.

“We have located all the services and facilities in the Sudbury and Great Cornard area and it is the most suitable location - we are a very rural district.”

He stressed the council was at a very early stage in the process of rubber stamping the plans and the public response will be used to formulate any final decisions.

He moved to reassure people infrastructure improvements would be looked at to meet demand and things would be done in a “sustainable” and “rational” way.

Once strategy have agreed the details of the draft document it will need approval from full council before a planned eight week public consultation in May. Four public information events are being planned.

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