'Great concern' planned holiday park could impact on important archaeological sites
PUBLISHED: 16:03 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:01 29 March 2019
A planned holiday park at a golf club at Fornham All Saints could threaten the site of "Suffolk's most important battlefield", a packed public meeting was told.
David Harris, of M&D Developments, has submitted an application to turn part of the course at All Saints Hotel and Golf Club near Bury St Edmunds, into 70 single-storey timber holiday lodges.
Fornham All Saints Parish Council held a public meeting last night to gauge what residents think of the plans and formulate its own response to the proposal.
Objections have already been lodged against the planning application with issues ranging from loss of view and the effect on the river corridor to increased traffic and impact on the village’s character.
Mr Harris maintains he has worked hard to minimise any impact, adding the holiday lodges could create 30-40 jobs and boost tourism in the area.
Read more: Plans for 70 holiday lodges to boost income at golf club and hotel complex
David Austin, of the Battlefields Trust, expressed his concern over the development’s impact on the site of the Battle of Fornham of 1173 - said to be the largest battle in East Anglia - and the route of defeated rebel forces.
He also raised the proximity of an important listed Neolithic/Bronze Age archaeological site.
He said: “We have a great concern this development will impact on aspects of the retreat that took place after the battle. My question would be what consideration has been given to an archaeological survey?”
Senior archaeological officer James Rolfe said in comments on the application that the development site was an “extremely sensitive archaeological location”, adjacent to the end of the Fornham cursus scheduled monument, and in a topographic area that has a “high potential” for Anglo-Saxon remains to be found.
He is seeking further details on proposed ground disturbances, although the intention is to place lodges on grass mesh, and said there may be a need for archaeological field investigations.
Read more: County could have an ‘equivalent to Stonehenge’
At the meeting, the lack of a heritage impact statement was felt to be among the “large gaps” in the planning application, with others including traffic projections.
The highways authority has issued a holding objection on the grounds of “insufficient information regarding highway safety”.
County councillor for the area, Beccy Hopfensperger, who is objecting to the plans, said: “For such a large-scale development I have never seen such a poorly put together planning application in all my life.”
Mr Harris said he had not been invited to the meeting, but spoke to this publication afterwards.
He said they believed they had provided what the planning authority, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, had asked for and are currently working on additional information, for example on traffic projections.
He said while they would try and listen to residents, “we also have to look at that we want to take the golf course to the next stage”.
Resident Jane Stewart said: “We do use the facilities [at All Saints Hotel & Golf Club] and it’s an asset to the area, but the scale of the development and impact it would have on the village is really disappointing.”
While it is proposed the lodges are on wheels, so technically would be caravans, Mr Harris confirmed the intention is they would be static.
After the meeting, Howard Quayle, chairman of Fornham All Saints Parish Council, confirmed the parish council would be lodging an objection.
He said: “I think overall the main view is it’s not appropriate and it’s out of scale. We are keen Fornham retains its character as a village.”
The consultation deadline is April 10.