Protesters turn out to try to save fields amid fresh development fears

Villagers taking part in the homes protest at Long Melford

Villagers taking part in the homes protest at Long Melford - Credit: Archant

Three hundred protesters turned out to march, wave placards and do everything possible to stop the ‘sacrifice’ of one of Suffolk’s most picturesque villages to greedy developers.

The protest walk at Long Melford

The protest walk at Long Melford - Credit: Archant

Long Melford residents are said to be full of sadness and anxiety after they reportedly began receiving brochures from Gladman Land.

Although Gladman has not submitted a planning application as yet, villagers are aware of a recent application from chartered town planners Hourigan Connolly to convert a 19-hectare plot of land off Station Road for keeping horses.

Some believe this is being used as a way to turn the greenfield site, into a brownfield site so that a developer could then use it for an application for large scale residential development, as has happened elsewhere in the country.

Parish councillor, Richard Kemp, who was at the demonstration by the Save Our Skylark Fields group, said: “You’d have to have no brain to think that you need that much land to keep three horses. And then, when we all started getting the brochure from Gladman – well, it’s not hard to put two and two together.

“Everybody here is full of anxiety about what might be about to happen.

“We are a medieval village, a jewel of Suffolk and we might be about to be drowned in concrete. Once Long Melford is gone, it’s gone forever.”

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More than 200 homes are currently either under construction, or have received planning permission to go ahead, in the village, with sites in Ropers Lane, Hall Street and Bull Lane all earmarked for new homes.

Parish councillor John Nunn said: “We are facing a great community battle over the whole future of the Long Melford landscape. Once it’s been damaged, the picture cannot be changed. The village has taken its fair share of development in the past 18 months with three new developments and we are indeed in danger of destroying the character and all that people love about our village forever.

“We are not NIMBYs, we have no objection to small scale infill housing, or any truly affordable homes that could help young people, but it is a deep concern to see a village like ours swamped with large scale developments.”

Both Gladman Land and Hourigan Connolly could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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