Author's fears over homes planned close to historic Suffolk landmark

Rhoda Koenig is concerned about plans for homes close to the gatehouse at Erwarton Hall

Rhoda Koenig is concerned about plans for homes close to the gatehouse at Erwarton Hall - Credit: JERRY TURNER

A retired author has raised concerns about the impact plans to create five new homes will have on an historic Grade I listed gatehouse. 

In a letter to the EADT, Rhoda Koenig described the proposal to convert farm buildings close to Erwarton Hall near Shotley as an "ugly housing estate for rich people", which would be "very destructive to local services, aesthetics and environment". 

Miss Koenig, who is supporting residents’ objections, said the homes would not bring social benefits as they would be unaffordable to all except the wealthiest. 

Originally, the plans were for seven homes, but applicant JRH Veenbaas and Co has since reduced the number to five, although she said this would still cause "enormous damage". 

She said: “The plans have been re-submitted and rejected several times, each time with very minor changes, too small to make any difference. This last time, however, the new submission has what appears to be a major change (five houses instead of seven). 

“However, this is still ample to cause enormous damage- it's the difference between having five loads of slurry, instead of seven, dumped on your front lawn.” 

But landowner Peter Veenbaas said the proposals were only to convert existing buildings and not to create new homes, adding that the exteriors would remain the same. 

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He added: “This is not involving new build homes and the buildings that are being converted are redundant farm buildings that are no longer being used for agricultural purposes and that is what the application is and we are in touch with the council and awaiting it to go to committee.” 

In a statement provided to Babergh District Council, planning consultants Boyer describe the plans as providing "additional residential units in the district and therefore contribute to meeting the local housing need". 

The statement added there would be a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes to suit families and couples. 

Lord Deben, John Gummer, is concerned about the plans for development close to Erwarton Hall

Lord Deben, John Gummer, is concerned about the plans for development close to Erwarton Hall - Credit: SU ANDERSON

John Gummer, Lord Deben, has also previously spoken to the EADT about his concerns for the impact on the gatehouse. 

Queen Anne Boleyn was a childhood visitor to the 16th-century hall built by her uncle.