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Future plans for homes in 'Gainsborough territory' would be 'worst kind of sprawl' into landscape

PUBLISHED: 13:59 08 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:59 08 November 2019

The view south-west across part of the land in the submission to Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils' joint local plan consultation  Picture: BOYER

The view south-west across part of the land in the submission to Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils' joint local plan consultation Picture: BOYER

BOYER

Campaigners have launched a fight to head off plans for up to 150 homes in 'Gainsborough Country' in Suffolk.

The painting of Cornard Wood by Thomas Gainsborough Picture: PHILIP MOULDThe painting of Cornard Wood by Thomas Gainsborough Picture: PHILIP MOULD

Concerned residents called on people to join them in Great Cornard on Sunday, November 3, to discuss what people know about developer Hunstowe Land's interest in the 9.5-hectare site, off Prospect Hill and south of Davidson Close.

The greenfield land is next to Cornard Wood, also called Abbas Hall Wood, which is the subject of Sudbury artist Thomas Gainsborough's world-famous painting of the same name in London's National Gallery.

No planning application has been lodged yet but Hunstowe Land has used planning firm Boyer to produce a document submitted as part of consultation on Babergh and Mid Suffolk Council's joint local plan in July.

It is suggested the land, which is being promoted for "future development", could achieve up to 150 dwellings, although the developer emphasised it is "early stages".

Nick Miller, group secretary of the Sudbury Area green belt group, described it as a "key site in Gainsborough territory", with ancient, rolling farmland and woods.

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"This development would be the worst kind of sprawl into natural landscape and important accessible natural green space," he said.

"Building in the northern half, or not set well back from Prospect Hill, would be pure barbarism and the worst sprawl into countryside."

Mother-of-two Michelle Barker-Knott, who lives in Prospect Hill, said on Facebook: "If we don't act, we will lose our beautiful views, countryside and wildlife."

While no firm plans are on the table, Mr Miller, who is also concerned about traffic and site access, said the public needed to be aware of the proposal and people's views gathered as soon as possible.

"If we wait for the planning application to be made, we have got such little time to make people aware," he added.

Chris Haworth, of Hunstowe Land, said they had not started preparing a planning application, adding they were waiting for the council's response to their submission.

He said: "If we have formal involvement, we will certainly be engaging with residents. At the moment we don't know what their concerns are."

The document produced by Boyer said: "With appropriate masterplanning and careful design, the site is capable of delivering a sensitively-designed, but comprehensive and well-connected sustainable development that could contribute to the local development needs of Babergh District and Great Cornard in the early part of the [local] plan period."

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