Residents to fight Rushmere St Andrew commemorative woodland housing plans at judicial review

The commemorative woodland at Rushmere St Andrew

The commemorative woodland at Rushmere St Andrew - Credit: Archant

Campaigners against a 14-home development in a rural part of Suffolk have vowed to take the case to judicial review after the plans were allowed on appeal.

Members of Save Our Rushmere’s Rural Identity (SORRI) are said to have been left “devastated” by a planning inspectors decision to allow the development on commemorative woodland, adjacent to 155 The Street, despite it being used to grow fruits and vegetables and for the keeping of bees.

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

Suffolk Coastal District Council refused the plans, put forward by a consortium of charities, in December on the grounds that it was out of keeping with the area and would reduce the green space between Ipswich and Rushmere St Andrew. It was also noted that the site made a significant contribution to the visual amenity and recreational needs of the village.

Now SORRI has vowed to lobby elected members, including MP Dan Poulter, to support them in taking the case to judicial review.

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SORRI chairman Ron Spore said claims by the inspector that a hedge surrounding the site would reduce the visual blight on the village, and that the council’s five year housing supply had not been met, were not valid.

“We set ourselves up with a view to try to maintain the rural character of the old village of Rushmere and in particular to stop building on this land,” he said. “Rushmere has had a huge amount of new builds in recent years. We also contest the assertion the hedges would provide an adequate screen...these are deciduous hedges which lose their leaves in winter.

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“We are really against this. The intention of Mrs Baldwin was that the land would be used as a commemorative woodland, a smallholding and a biodiversity area. The villagers are very keen on that happening which is why there’s such a lot of protest.”

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