Stowmarket: Chilton Fields saved from major homes development after petition calls for their protection

Chilton Fields in Stowmarket

Chilton Fields in Stowmarket - Credit: Archant

The owner of a large playing fields area has promised they will be protected against a major new development.

Mid Suffolk District Council has confirmed that Chilton Fields, in Stowmarket, will not be built on for the foreseeable future.

The fields had been under threat as part of the Chilton Leys development, which could see about 800 homes, a school and employment areas built to the north-west of the town.

A petition, signed by more than 660 people, had called for the fields to be saved.

Town and district councillor Gary Green said it was “brilliant news”.

He said: “I am pleased that the people have been listened to, especially as Stowmarket is lacking in sports facilities.

“People will be ecstatic to see this, I’m glad they put the petition together.”

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The playing fields which amount to more than 27 acres of land are also used by Stowmarket Rugby Club.

More than 500 people took part in a four-week public consultation over the plans last November.

Planning portfolio holder, councillor John Whitehead, said: “Mid Suffolk has listened carefully to the concerns of the public, who made it clear they wanted to retain the playing fields.

“After consideration of a local petition and concerns raised at a public exhibition in November, Mid Suffolk’s executive committee met and agreed the land will not be released for residential development.”

He added that the playing fields were a “great community asset” and would act as a buffer between the existing Chilton Hall development and Chilton Leys.

A council spokeswoman said: “This measure is not a temporary reprieve. The Chilton Fields site has now been excluded from the development plan.

“As with any piece of land, if the council were to decide at some future date the site should be brought back into development, it would have to go through a formal decision making process including public consultation to achieve that.”

Proposals for the Chilton Leys development are now out for further public consultation.