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'We felt like criminals' - police attend latest in Leiston's Long Row planning saga

PUBLISHED: 16:33 15 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:38 19 September 2017

Unhappy residents in Long Row Leiston.  picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Unhappy residents in Long Row Leiston. picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Homeowners claim they were made to feel like criminals when police were called to a controversial Suffolk housing development to ensure there wasn't a breach of the peace.

Police officers at the scene of sewage works at Long Row, Leiston. Picture: KIERON KIMMINGSPolice officers at the scene of sewage works at Long Row, Leiston. Picture: KIERON KIMMINGS

The residents’ group in Long Row, Leiston, claims the work to lay sewage pipes for the new properties was not lawful as the developers had no rights to access the track, which is unadopted and has no registered owner.

Members of the group awoke on Thursday morning to find workmen digging up the track outside their homes with two police officers keeping watch.

Resident Kieron Kimmings claimed that despite telling officers he had paperwork to prove the work was not legal, he was warned he could be at risk of arrest. “I’m absolutely furious,” he said. “The developers have no right to do this and yet the police helped them.”

Residents have opposed the two home development ever since plans were submitted four years ago, claiming the ancient drovers’ track is unsuitable to accommodate new housing.

Last year they barricaded the track’s entrance to prevent construction vehicles accessing the site, which they feared would cause subsidence to their homes.

Suffolk Coastal District Council granted permission for the homes though it admitted Long Row was suitable for access only by car or light van. It is understood planning officers wrote to the developers, Moneypenny Developments, to highlight issues involved in making sewage connections across third party land.

The residents also claim their solicitors sent legal letters to the developers informing them such work would be unlawful, but received no reply. Carole Iddison said: “Most of us are pensioners and our aim has only ever been to protect our homes and yet we are made to feel like criminals.” Tony Shears added: “It seems like the police are backing the developers and the residents have nothing.”

Suffolk police said: “Police are aware of an ongoing dispute between residents and developers in Long Row, which is a civil matter. Officers have been in attendance to ensure there is no breach of the peace and words of advice have been given to both parties. No offences have been committed, however, and police have made no arrests.”

Moneypenny Developments did not respond to a request for comment.

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