Homes bid opposed

PLANS to build 170 homes in an idyllic valley immortalised by the legendary painter Thomas Gainsborough have been described as “outrageous” by campaigners.

PLANS to build 170 homes in an idyllic valley immortalised by the legendary painter Thomas Gainsborough have been described as “outrageous” by campaigners.

The artist's view of Cornard Wood, near Sudbury, which he painted in 1748 from the grounds of Abbas Hall, Little Cornard, is under threat from the latest local plan for the area, angry protesters claimed last night.

Persimmon Homes won concessions after objecting to the terms of a Special Landscape Area (SLA) designation, which is intended to protect the valley from over-development.

Stefan Kosciusko, owner of Abbas Hall, believes the planning inspector's proposals for the area's local plan could have far-reaching implications for other SLAs within the Babergh district.

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“There are some radical changes. What is being planned will obliterate the view painted by Gainsborough.

“The SLA exists to protect the area and there can be some building but there should be certain controls and there should be no building unless there is an overriding national need or no other sites.

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“I want the area to grow but we don't want to turn it into a place where we wouldn't be happy. A lot of people are gutted by what they are planning.”

Mr Kosciusko believes he has a strong case to persuade Babergh to block the idea and has vowed to continue his campaign to stop the change.

If approved by councillors on Tuesday, the proposals will go through for further consultation as part of the local plan.

Michael Evans, chairman of the Cornard Tye Residents Association, expressed his concerns for the suitability of the site because local schools and small rural roads would be unable to cope with the influx of people.

“This proposal has been slipped into the local plan at the last minute and it has never been in any other local plans,” said Mr Evans.

“A lot of councillors are furious this site has been included. The inspector even suggested the homes would improve the view.”

A spokesman for the council said Babergh had made a number of submissions to the planning inspector for consideration in his inquiry and the majority had been accepted.

However, the inspector rejected an alternative development site at Shawlands Avenue in favour of the Cornard site at Abbas Hall, which is known as Carsons Drive.

Rich Cooke, acting head of planning policy and economic development at the council, said: “Babergh is pleased that the inspector backed all of the main proposals in the local plan.

“However, he did reject Babergh's original plans for housing development on Shawlands Avenue on a number of grounds, including its harmful visual impact. Instead, he has recommended a development of 170 homes at Carsons Drive.

“In addition, a great deal of research has gone into the impact on the landscape of this proposal.

“Indeed, the inspector himself has written: 'I do not believe the historic setting of Abbas Hall would be affected by deleting the SLA designation from land to the west of the ridgeline'.”

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