Residents fight to save village sign

By Dave GooderhamA PARISH council is preparing to take legal action to stop a landowner taking down a much-loved village sign.Michael Sach has informed Cockfield Parish Council that the Parsonage Green landmark - along with a bench and a time capsule buried by schoolchildren - must be removed by Tuesday.

By Dave Gooderham

A PARISH council is preparing to take legal action to stop a landowner taking down a much-loved village sign.

Michael Sach has informed Cockfield Parish Council that the Parsonage Green landmark - along with a bench and a time capsule buried by schoolchildren - must be removed by Tuesday.

The issue was discussed at a public meeting on Thursday and the parish council will now pursue the matter through solicitors, although it remained hopeful an amicable solution could be found.


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Parish council vice-chairman, Barbara Ruffle, said: “There was a unanimous decision at the meeting for the parish council to pursue with solicitors for an amicable settlement, which is obviously what everyone prefers and wants to happen.

“But we do have a precept to cover any possible legal costs we might incur and we can't rule this out.

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“It is a very emotional and important issue in the village and the general feeling among residents is that they don't want the sign to be moved from Parsonage Green - it is one of the main central points in our village.”

Parish councillor and sub-postmaster, Ralph Turner, said residents were upset at the prospect of the sign being taken down.

“Most of the village is totally up-in-arms and residents, especially those who have been in the village for a long time, are very upset,” he added.

“This has been going on for a few months now and we now might have to take legal enforcement.

“The ground used to be owned by the former lord of the manor, who gave us permission to erect the sign and the bench.

“It has changed hands since then, but I understand the owners took on the property with the agreement the landmarks would stay.”

Mr Sachs, a consultant at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, declined to reveal the reason why he wanted the sign removed. “I have no comment to make as the matter is in the hands of my solicitors,” he said.

But villagers believe the move might have been prompted by concerns about the damage to the green and about liability insurance - which is paid by the parish council.

The village sign was commissioned by the Cockfield Community Council and unveiled by Robert Shawyer, former lord of Earls Hall and Cockfield manors, in 1987.

The bench was awarded to the village by Babergh District Council after it won the Best Kept Village Competition in 1984.

Pupils of Cockfield Primary School buried a time capsule in the mid-1980s so future generations could see how their ancestors lived.

dave.gooderham@eadt.co.uk

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