Silent protest at future housing site in Rushmere St Andrew as community value status is debated
A site registered as an asset of community value last year faces losing the status already after a High Court battle against housing plans was rejected.
A silent protest was held on the site, on land adjecent to 155 The Street in Rushmere St Andrew, this morning as representatives from Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) and Withers Trust Corporation Limited (Witco) - which represents the charities which put forward plans for 14 houses at the site - conducted a site visit to consider if the status should be removed. A formal hearing between all parties followed.
The land was granted asset of community value status last July following an application by Save Our Rushmere’s Rural Identity (SORRI), Save Our County Spaces (SOCS) and other groups on the grounds that it was used by the community for growing fruit and vegetables and for the keeping of bees. It also also home to a number of commemorative trees planted by nearby residents in memory of loved ones.
Despite this, permission for 14 homes on the land was allowed on appeal last year, after SCDC refused the plans in December 2014.
In January, the campaign groups discovered that a High Court case they mounted against the housing development had been unsuccessful and that a site visit would take place, promoting the silent protest.
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Speaking following the protest and the hearing Barbara Robinson, who has led the High Court case on behalf of the groups, said: “I think we as residents represented ourselves as best we could. I was pleased that people came out and expressed their support for what we are doing on their behalf.
“A decision on the asset of community value will come in due course.”
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She added that the groups would continue in registering their interest in making a bid for the site’s purchase.
A spokesperson for Witco said: “Anyone with a genuine concern about a particular tree should contact Witco in order to discuss ways of protecting any such tree.”
He added that, despite publicising a poatal address which concerned parties should contact five months ago, no letters had been received.
Anyone wishing to raise concerns about a memorial tree planted at the site should write to Paul Hewitt, Witco, 16 Old Bailey, London EC4M 7EG giving details of the tree in question and their contact details.