Villagers angry at new homes snub

By James MortlockANGRY residents have accused developers of "airbrushing" their village from existence in the marketing of hundreds of stylish new homes.

By James Mortlock

ANGRY residents have accused developers of "airbrushing" their village from existence in the marketing of hundreds of stylish new homes.

People from Red Lodge, near Mildenhall - which for decades has been viewed as a run-down village that once thrived on a string of truck stops on the busy A11 - had hoped their community would reap the rewards of the huge 1,200-home development.

But many now fear the Kings Warren development - which includes a state-of-the-art children's play area, new medical centre and, in time, a primary school for the whole of Red Lodge - will do nothing to help the village lose its tarnished image.

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Red Lodge parish councillor Betty Duncan, widow of former councillor Allan Duncan, one of the most prominent campaigners for the promotion of the village, said: "We are not unhappy with the houses.

"It's the way they are being marketed. Rather than Red Lodge, the development is being described as Kings Warren, near Newmarket. They have left Red Lodge off the adverts, it's been very much pushed into the background."

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Parish council chairman Sonya Clarke added: "We are very, very disappointed. We have spoken to Forest Heath District Council and they have told us the development is part of Red Lodge and postally it will be Red Lodge and the council tax precept will be Red Lodge.

"Red Lodge is not on the adverts and we only accepted such a large development because of the benefits to the community it would provide and so obviously we are disappointed.

"It does seem like they are creating their own village, they don't seem to recognise it as an integrated part of Red Lodge.

"The villagers feel a bit let down. This place was known as a transport stop during the 1950s and 60s, and then some of the businesses closed down, but since then we have built up a tight little community we thought would grow through this.

"We don't want a 'them and us' situation at all and we will greet the new residents with joy, but at the moment we feel like a satellite village."

Lisa Chambers, one of the Forest Heath councillors for the village, said Kings Warren was only a part of the development plans for Red Lodge.

Although she understood the concerns of residents, she was confident the homes now under construction would become a valuable addition to the village rather than a separate community.

"I can sympathise with the feeling - I live here myself - but I think to say Red Lodge is being airbrushed out is a little bit strong," she added.

"Kings Warren is an estate in Red Lodge and I look forward to it improving Red Lodge and helping it become a vibrant and thriving community. I'm very confident the village as a whole will see the benefits."

No-one from Crest Nicholson, which is building the Kings Warren estate, was available to comment on the marketing strategy at the weekend, but in a Press release hailing "unprecedented demand" for the homes, Red Lodge was not mentioned.

In the statement, Helen Moore, sales and marketing director with the developer, said Kings Warren was the first new village of its type to be built in Suffolk for many years.

"Usually, there is a price premium attached to properties in villages coupled with the uncertainty that can come with purchasing a second-hand home. Kings Warren provides the ideal opportunity to live the village lifestyle without the high price tag," she added.

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