Hadleigh: Controversial park plans withdrawn

East House in Hadleigh

East House in Hadleigh - Credit: Archant

CONTROVERSIAL plans to redevelop a 17th-Century house and park in Hadleigh have been withdrawn.

Last year, Babergh District Council submitted applications to turn East House in George Street into flats and to develop the former putting green behind the Grade II-Listed property for housing.

A spokesman for the local authority, which owns East House and the adjoining land, said the decision to cancel the application was taken following objections received during a consultation exercise.

In December, more than 1,000 people signed a petition and launched a campaign to save the plot, which is known locally as Cox’s Park.

In 2006, Babergh councillors resolved to dispose of East House and the disused putting green, and it was agreed that the money raised would be used to provide community facilities in Hadleigh. Since then, a new community leisure facility has been completed and it opened in the town last October.

The council still intends to put funds from the sale of East House - which was once used for adult education classes - towards the costs of the facility. The spokesman said revised planning and listed building consent applications would be resubmitted at a future date. However, he added: “Before any resubmission is made, the council will hold a public exhibition outlining the proposals and local residents will be invited to make comments on the revised scheme.

“Details of the exhibition will be widely publicised to ensure as many people as possible are given the opportunity to engage in this process and following consideration of any views raised at the exhibition, amended applications will be submitted.”

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A bid by Hadleigh Town Council to buy East House in 2006 for £501,000 was rejected by Babergh. The town council subequently approved proposed changes to East House but opposed the park development. Last night, Hadleigh planning committee chair Penny Cook told the EADT: “I am very pleased that they (Babergh) have decided to think again about what was a very unpopular proposal.

“I am also very pleased that they are going to consult local people about proposed future developments.”

An organisation set up to fight the development, the Friends of Cox’s Park Group, hoped that the area could be officially designated a village green, and members asked local people to provide evidence of how they had used the area during the past 20 years.

But Babergh has always maintained that a portion of the neighbouring land would have to be included in any sale to make it viable for redevelopment.