Residents fight to save commemorative woodland in Rushmere St Andrew with community right to bid

The commemorative woodland at Rushmere St Andrew

The commemorative woodland at Rushmere St Andrew - Credit: Archant

The Save Our Rushmere’s Rural Identity (SORRI) campaign group will also challenge plans for the development in the High Court.

The 14 homes have been proposed for land opposite 115 The Street in Rushmere St Andrew.

Suffolk Coastal District Council refused the scheme in December because it was out of keeping with the area and would reduce the green space between Ipswich and Rushmere St Andrew. It was also said that the site made a significant contribution to the visual amenity and recreational needs of the village, as it was used for the keeping of bees and growing of fruit and vegetables which were used by the villagers.

The land was left by resident Nora Baldwin to The Leonard Woolf Charitable Trust in her will in 2006 and Mr Woolf has been maintaining the site since the late 1960s. Earlier this year won the Green Hero award for his efforts.

Residents now face losing the land altogether, as the consortium of charities behind the development plans have taken the refusal to appeal. But villagers are not backing down and have successfully lodged their interest in purchasing the land as an asset of community value to protect it from development in the future, but first need to get the current appeal quashed.

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However, the costs of the legal challenge, together with the purchase of the land, are set to be hefty.

SORRI member Barbara Robinson said: “We waited for Suffolk Coastal to defend their refusal but they have refused to do that.

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“Our application for a Community Right to Bid has been accepted, so we have a legitimate interest in this site. The costs are going to be quite considerable. We are all small community groups that have hundreds not thousands of pounds. This is only the first bit of the hurdle. It’s absolutely essential that we get this appeal quashed. We have sufficient support in place to give it a good go, but we need all the help and support from the community that we can get. I will be emailing the 300 people that responded to the planning application and the 200 that wrote to the planning inspector because their views haven’t been taken into account.”

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