SAVE GAINSBOROUGH COUNTRY

Action Group

(Great Cornard and Sudbury individuals including resident representatives for Carsons/De Greys/Kempson/Parmenter/Lazell/Mallard/Chaplin/Sheepshead Hill/Walsingham/Pot Kiln/Canhams)

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

19th January 2006

 

 

 

SAVE GAINSBOROUGH COUNTRY Action Group (SGCAG) and Friends of SGCAG launched at a packed meeting in Great Cornard, Stevenson Centre

 

 

On a cold, damp and blustery winter evening on the 18th January at 7.00 p.m. over 250 Great Cornard and Sudbury residents packed with standing room only into the main hall at the Stevenson Centre, Great Cornard to attend a public consultation meeting organised by Great Cornard Parish Council (GCPC) and the launch of SGCAG.

 

The meeting listened to Babergh District Council officers Mike Hammond, Corporate Director and Rich Cooke, Acting Head of Planning Policy & Economic Development outlining a proposed 170 home development concreting over the beautiful Stour Valley slopes above Carsons Drive and below Grade I listed Abbas Hall.

 

The public debate lasting nearly two hours reviewed the issues concerning how this development was proposed by the Inspector as a Post Inquiry Modification. This inclusion by a single individual, under pressure from “big money developers”, was in spite of a democratic and thorough process conducted over at least five years through the Local Plan and the Local Plan Task Force where this site had been assessed and rejected for development, and therefore not included within either Local Plan Draft 1 or 2.

 

The meeting expressed opposition on all possible grounds relevant to a planning issue including development on an SLA, lack of sustainability, inadequate infrastructure of roads, sewage and drainage, schools, and medical facilities, loss of amenity, wildlife, national heritage views and a host of other criticisms were raised.

 

This area had been included in the Local Plan as part of an extension to the existing Stour Valley Special Landscape Area (SLA ) and had been subject to a Landscape Character Assessment by Babergh District Council:

 

“The Special Landscape Area designation for this part of Great Cornard has been rigorously assessed and its inclusion in the Babergh Local Plan Alteration No 2 Second Deposit Draft is justified”

 

(Public Enquiry/Proof of Evidence/Statement/Peter J.Berry, Countryside Officer, Babergh District Council/25th November 2004)

 

In the debate there was not a single voice of the public in favour of this development on any grounds. A motion was unanimously passed by Great Cornard Parish Council rejecting this proposed development.

 

Stefan Kosciuszko, Chairman of the SGCAG commented “I, and everyone else at the meeting, commend the action of Peter Beer, Chairman of GCPC and Tina Baker, Chair of Planning for GCPC in calling for this public consultation meeting. This meeting showed the total and unanimous support of the community to reject this proposed development. This desecration of historic landscape incorporating Gainsborough views rated B2 Highly Sensitive – designations /features of national importance cannot be permitted. I call upon all Babergh District residents to express their written objections to this during the public consultation period. This case has implications for any SLA throughout our district. I am confident that the Babergh District Councillors in their final consideration of this matter will overrule this potential injustice and vote to reject this development from the Local Plan to be adopted later this year.”

 

Evidence of the District wide danger of also not rejecting, during the Local Plan consultation period, the proposed emasculation of Policy CR05 concerning SLA’s is clear in the expressed view of Rich Cooke, following direct questioning, that landscaping could make this development acceptable.

 

Stefan Kosciuszko, Chairman of the SGCAG further commented “Public support for the protection of this special area is unequivocal and based in thorough fact, assessment and democratic process. If this is allowed it is open shooting season for all SLA’s throughout the District”

 

 At the launch of the SGCAG , a committed group of 15 Great Cornard and Sudbury residents, with Lord Phillips and Betty Bone as Joint Presidents, and including resident representatives from roads throughout Great Cornard, a further 215 individuals signed up with full names and addresses to join the Friends of SAVE GAINSBOROUGH COUNTRY Action Group with the following mission statement:

 

“Action Group formed to reject the 170 home development concreting over the lower slopes of the Stour Valley at Carson’s Drive, Great Cornard and the emasculation of Policy CR05 covering “strict control of development” in special landscape areas throughout Babergh District”

 

End

 

Notes to Editors

 

 SAVE GAINSBOROUGH COUNTRY Action Group (SGCAG) and Friends of SGCAG launched

 

 

Residents of Great Cornard and Sudbury have formed an Action Group in order to stop a proposed 170 home development concreting over the beautiful Stour Valley slopes above Carsons Drive and below Grade I listed Abbas Hall.

 

The campaign will seek to reject the proposed Stour Valley housing development on land above Carsons Drive in Great Cornard and also in a linked matter the emasculation of Policy CR05 covering “strict control of development” in Special Landscape Areas throughout Babergh District, both of which have been proposed as recommendations by the Inspector in his recent assessment of the Babergh District Council Local Plan.

 

This land area was designated a Special Landscape Area (SLA) under the (BDC) Local Plan following a BDC Landscape Quality Assessment.

 

“The Special Landscape Area designation for this part of Great Cornard has been rigorously assessed and its inclusion in the Babergh Local Plan Alteration No 2 Second Draft is justified” (BDC Official Papers- Public Inquiry Proof of Evidence)

 

It incorporates historic National Heritage views across the beautiful Stour Valley which include the location of Gainsborough’s most famous paintings “A View of Cornard Wood” hanging in the National Gallery, and “Mr. & Mrs. Andrews”. It was also featured in David Dimbleby’s Summer 2005 BBC 1 programme a “Picture of Britain” and the Cornard Wood setting was the main picture used on the frontispiece of his book accompanying the national series.

 

Stefan Kosciuszko of Abbas Hall and Michael Evans, Chairman of the Cornard Tye Residents Association have been appointed Chairman and Secretary & Treasurer respectively at a preparatory meeting of the SGCAG convened on Saturday 7th January. Other officers for the Group include Clive Golding, Fundraising and Tony Harman, Communications. Evidence of strong popular support is further clear in how quickly resident representatives have been appointed for a majority of the streets in Great Cornard South that will be immediately impacted by the development.

 

A number of organisations including the Sudbury Society (Chairman, David Burnett), The Suffolk Preservation Society (Director, Richard Ward) and the Colne Stour Countryside Association (Chairman, Simon Ward) have already expressed their strongest possible opposition to this proposal, prior to the commencement of the Public Consultation period on the Local Plan on the 18th January 2006.

 

Popular public support is further clear when immediately upon launch of the Friends of SGCAG 215 people signed up to the Mission Statement as follows:

 

“Action Group formed to reject the 170 home development concreting over the lower slopes of the Stour Valley at Carson’s Drive, Great Cornard and the emasculation of Policy CR05 covering “strict control of development” in special landscape areas throughout Babergh District”