Protest march planned to oppose housing development in village
PUBLISHED: 15:24 09 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:12 09 January 2019
A group of campaigners will march through a picturesque Suffolk village to protest against plans for 150 new homes and call for more donations to fight a developer’s appeal.
The Save Our Skylark Fields (SOS) campaign was launched in Long Melford last year to oppose an application from Gladman for a housing development on land off Station Road in the village.
The controversial development has faced much opposition from the community and the parish council, with residents citing infrastructure issues and lack of need.
Babergh District Council’s planning committee unanimously voted to refuse the plans at a hearing in December – but Gladman lodged an appeal prior to that hearing on the grounds that Babergh went over the stated timeframe for the application.
MORE: ‘Common sense has prevailed’ - Application for 150 homes in village refused
This means the final decision will lie with the planning inspector, with a date now set for June 25.
A protest march against the development has now been organised for Sunday, January 20, which will start from the SOS banner on the corner of Roman Way in Long Melford at 10am before heading to the village hall for updates and speeches.
Ian Mackenzie, former chairman of Hands Off Steeple Bumpstead, a village group which successfully defeated Gladman’s application for 65 new homes in 2017, will speak at the march.
Campaigners have raised nearly £8,000 for costs associated with fighting the developer through events and sales of a photographic calendar, but Lisa Tipper, chairman of the SOS group, says more is needed.
MORE: Campaigners continue fight against housing development with fundraising events
“SOS has been actively fundraising and we have got a quiz night coming up at the Royal British Legion on Friday, February 8, and councillor John Nunn has sponsored the hire of the building,” she said.
“We are trying to see if there are any retired barristers or lawyers who might be able to help us, and we are also looking for experts in the landscaping and settlement field.
“We’re asking people to dig deep for further donations because if we do win, it could put a stop to speculative applications east of the railway walk.
“We have recently received two significant anonymous donations and we’re nearly at £8,000. But we need at least £13,000 and the more people give, the more we can fight it.”