SAVE GAINSBOROUGH COUNTRY ACTION GROUP
11th January 2006
SAVE GAINSBOROUGH COUNTRY Action Group (SGCAG) launch imminent
Outraged residents of Great Cornard and Sudbury have commenced the process of forming 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.
The launch of the Action Group will take place at the Stevenson Centre in Great Cornard on Wednesday 18th January 2006, immediately after to a Public Consultation meeting to be held at the Stevenson Centre commencing at 7.00p.m., where Babergh District Council (BDC) officers will outline the proposed scheme for development at Carson’s Drive.
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)
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.
The area is actively used by local residents for recreational walking and has footpaths, a bridleway and extensive wildlife presence including foxes, badgers, skylarks, deer, tawny owl, little owl, and many other species. The views in this area across the Stour Valley from Suffolk to Essex are stunning.
The proposed development was not included in the Local Plan to date and the first the community was aware of this was following a BDC Strategy Committee meeting on the 30th November to review the Inspector’s proposed recommendations following the Public Inquiry on the Local Plan held in late 2004.
Stefan Kosciuszko, Chairman of SGCAG commented “It has been unjustifiably inserted as a recommendation by the Inspector under pressure from a big money developer, in spite of being previously rejected by a rigorous assessment conducted by the Local Plan Task Force of all potential development sites in BDC. As such it is therefore not democratic process and I am certain that the District Councillors of BDC, following the public consultation process and in recognition of the strong public feeling on this matter, will vote to reject this proposal.”
Great Cornard Parish Council, under the Chairmanship of Peter Beer, at its meeting on the 12th December 2005 emphatically outlined the position that this proposed development was not welcomed by the Great Cornard Community.
Lord Phillips of Sudbury OBE and Betty Bone (“Battling Betty”) have agreed to act as Joint Presidents of the Action Group and local dignitaries including Sylvia Byham, Raj Nandi and a host of others have agreed to become members and lend their support to opposing this development.
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 from the 16th January 2006.
SAVE OUR SLA – Stop the Stour Valley Development