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Page updated - 28 December 2005

EADT - 16 Dec 2005


A black day for our village - By Will Grahame-Clarke


FURIOUS villagers have expressed their frustration after plans to build 170 homes in a valley which inspired East Anglian artist Thomas Gainsborough moved a step closer. Babergh District Council made the decision to include the Carsons Drive site in Cornard, near Sudbury, in the latest local plan – as recommended by a planning inspector – despite its status as a protected area. Gainsborough painted Cornard Wood in 1748 from the grounds of Abbas Hall, Little Cornard, but now the view could be ruined by rooftops, claim campaigners.


Peter Beer, a member of the council for the area, expressed his disgust with the decision, which he described as “a black day for Cornard”.

“They have sacrificed the area for the whole district,” he said. “I think the proposal has been given the green light and it will be very difficult to stop.

“There are already plans for three developments in Great Cornard – I think we have done our bit.”


Campaigner and owner of Abbas Hall, Stefan Kosciuszko, said: “The Save Gainsborough Country campaign is gaining momentum and we positively welcome the chance offered to place under public scrutiny the arrangements that have led to an inspector’s recommendation to concrete over historic Gainsborough views. “A consultation process that takes account of the public’s outrage and negative views will, I am sure, be recognised by our elected officials and the inspector’s recommendation will not be accepted into the final plan.”


Michael Evans, chairman of the Cornard Tye Residents Association, echoed many villagers’ views and said he was disappointed with the decision and vowed to fight the plan. “I think we can make a strong case to the planning officers but it will be difficult to stop. People are horrified by this decision because it will damage the quality of life in Cornard,” he said. The site is part of Special Landscape Area, which allows some building but not without overriding need.


Nick Ridley, chairman of the strategy committee, said: “We are nearing the end of a long process in creating a local plan for Babergh. As a result of the public inquiry in the spring of this year, the inspector has produced a report in which he supports Babergh’s main recommendations. “Babergh continues to be in listening mode and is aware of a number of concerns being expressed about the recommendations for Carsons Drive. We are now going out to consultation with both Great Cornard Parish Council and other interested bodies over this specific issue.”


Ray Ricks, planning consultant for Persimmon Homes, which is behind the Cornard plan, defended the suitability of the site and the planning inspector’s decision to include it. “The site has been subject to highway and landscape assessment and the site is well situated for local schools and facilities,” he said.


Babergh will adopt the Local Plan after a period of local consultation by July 2006.




The text above was first published in the East Anglian Daily Times on 16 Dec 2005 and kind permission to reproduce it on this website was given by:


Dominic Castle

Deputy editor

East Anglian Daily Times

30 Lower Brook Street




01473 324656