Villagers ready for battle with council

CAMPAIGNERS are preparing to take on a council through the courts over plans to build 85 new homes on a pig farm site.Residents of Walsham-le-Willows(crrct), near Bury St Edmunds, have also warned that taxpayers may face a bill of £20,000 should Mid Suffolk District Council approve the application and a successful judicial review follow.

CAMPAIGNERS are preparing to take on a council through the courts over plans to build 85 new homes on a pig farm site.

Residents of Walsham-le-Willows(crrct), near Bury St Edmunds, have also warned that taxpayers may face a bill of £20,000 should Mid Suffolk District Council approve the application and a successful judicial review follow.

The group said the proposals for 60 free market homes and 25 affordable units, to be decided on Monday, are contrary to planning policy.

A total of 130 letters of objection have been sent over the past eight months, with residents questioning whether their village, which has no post office, doctor's surgery or employment possibilities, is suitable for the development.


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The campaigners, called the Walsham Housing Action Group, have raised funds through community events to employ a barrister to fight their case and will pursue a judicial review should permission be granted.

“This is a story of a rural conservation village fighting against the Government's urban planning policy,” said Jane Hird, of the Walsham Housing Action Group.

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“What happens at Walsham could set a precedence for many other Suffolk villages.

The village, which has 300 homes at present, will increase in size by almost a fifth should the development, on the former Elmside Piggeries site, go ahead.

“Out small community feels it has been so badly treated and the planning process has been so deeply flawed that we have been forced to take expensive legal advice to challenge the council,” said Matthew Lockyer, who will address members of the planning committee at their meeting on Monday.

Robert Eburne, planning control manager with the council, said: “The committee is to consider the proposals on the basis of a substantial officers' report.

“Should members resolve to grant planning permission, against local planning policy, the final decision will rest with the Secretary of State.”

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