Yoxford: Developer’s assurances fail to allay fears over cricket ground

An aerial shot of Yoxford by Mike Page.

An aerial shot of Yoxford by Mike Page. - Credit: Mike Page

A housing developer’s assurances it has no plans to build upon a village cricket ground has failed to allay fears about its long-term intentions.

Many of the Yoxford residents opposed to Hopkins Homes’ proposed 26 property development in the village, were also concerned the company planned to build more housing on the neighbouring cricket ground, having seen its name featured on the associated Land Registry document.

A spokesman for Hopkins Homes, however, has since explained its presence on the document related only to its attempts to purchase the adjoining land, owned by the same family.

“Hopkins Homes have not made any approach to purchase the cricket ground and therefore have no intentions, nor aspirations, towards it,” the spokesman said.

Opponents to the scheme remain unconvinced by the assurances. Tim Williams, who has been leading the public campaign against the current application, believes that Hopkins Homes’ interest in Yoxford could only be justified if it had plans for further developments in the village.

“From what I’ve gathered, they’ve paid a pretty penny for this site and the return from it would be minimal so a lot of us think there’s a longer game that they are playing,” he said.

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If the current application, which was refused by Suffolk Coastal District Council, is approved on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, Mr Williams believes it will set a dangerous precedent.

“Yoxford is surrounded by historic parkland so approving a proposal to build on historic parkland will pave the way for future development around the village,” he said.

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Yoxford Cricket Club would also face “serious risks” if the application on neighbouring land was approved.

Club chairman Stephen Beaumont said the proximity of houses – just one metre from the boundary – raised inevitable insurance issues.

“It would be a great shame if this should be allowed to destroy a century old cricket ground,” he said.

A steering group which formed to oppose the application intends to submit its comments to the Planning Inspectorate before November 20.

“We are trying to ensure that the voice of local residents is not excluded,” said Mr Williams.

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