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/Blackhouse)





8th February 2006







SAVE GAINSBOROUGH COUNTRY Action Group (SGCAG) and Friends of SGCAG campaign  to reject the proposed Carson’s Drive housing development in Gainsborough’s Valley accelerates with 1000+ individuals signed up as supporters


David Dimbleby, world renowned broadcaster has agreed to act as a Vice President of  the Friends of SGCAG thereby adding his voice of objection to the proposed development concreting over a designated Special Landscape Area in Gainsborough Country, the Stour Valley, in Suffolk.


He joins Hugh Belsey, the world’s leading Gainsborough expert and renowned scholar, as President of the Friends of SGCAG and Martin Bell, Vice President, the broadcaster, author, journalist, and former MP nationally famous for campaigning on an independent, anti-corruption ticket, and who became a symbol of the revolt against perceived sleaze in government.


David Dimbleby is famous as a major presenter of the highest quality current affairs programmes and documentaries for the BBC and has chaired the flagship BBC One’s Question Time since January 1994. He has presented the BBC’s general election programmes for the last two decades as well as US Presidential election programmes and budget coverage. He has been the commentator for a wide range of special outside broadcast events for BBC television including the State Opening of Parliament, Trooping the Colour, the funerals of Diana, Princess of Wales and HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and for BBC programmes marking the Golden Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth in 2002.


More recently he presented BBC One’s major art programme in Summer 2005 entitled “A Picture of Britain”, exploring how the British landscape has inspired artists for 300 years and how these artists have come to define how we view the landscape. It is in this context that he visited “England’s best kept secret”, the Stour Valley forming the border between Essex and Suffolk, unique in the world in linking historic national heritage views painted by Gainsborough and Constable.


The proposed 170 home development is at the exact transection of two of Gainsborough’s most famous views and would concrete over the beautiful Stour Valley slopes above Carson’s Drive and below Grade I listed Abbas Hall. This is precisely where David Dimbleby filmed his BBC1 programme and would desecrate an area used in Gainsborough’s painting “Cornard Wood”, hanging in the National Gallery, and used as the frontispiece for his excellent book on the series.


Stefan Kosciuszko, Chairman of the SGCAG commented:


“The strength of feeling against this proposed development grows daily. We have been signing up supporters at the rate of one per minute when Action Group members have been standing in Sudbury Market Hill, the birthplace of Gainsborough. It is outrageous the way that one individual is attempting to throw out five years of democratic process that rejected this site during the Local Plan creation. To the contrary the area was considered so beautiful and important that it had been designated a Special Landscape Area. I am certain that the District Councillors of Babergh will vote against this travesty of justice, following the end of the Public Consultation period, as the community’s voice is heard and their firm resolve against this development made clear.”


Stefan Kosciuszko added:


“That someone of the quality and integrity of David Dimbleby, known and recognised globally for his penetrating and incisive examination of the issues of the day, has joined our campaign is indeed a great honour, and cannot be ignored if public consultation is to mean anything for involving the community in local planning.”


SGCAG campaigners will again gather on Sudbury’s Market Hill, the birthplace of Gainsborough on Saturday 11th February, and every Saturday throughout February, to sign up members of the Friends of SGCAG and will be distributing the facts on this matter and objection forms to be sent to Babergh District Council before the end of February, and the close of the consultation period. Contact details for the Group are below.   






For further information on SGCAG please contact Stefan Kosciuszko on 07811-286539 or visit


To join the Friends of SAVE GAINSBOROUGH COUNTRY Action Group please send an e-mail to including your name and address.


To object to this development during the Public Consultation period concluding at the end of February please contact the above for objection forms and a fact sheet, or visit






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”


 “The area identified for Special Landscape Area designation closely reflects the overall context of the Stour Valley, and includes woodland and valley features, and the historic setting of Abbas Hall”


(Babergh District Council  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”


Membership of the Friends of SGCAG now exceeds 1000 individuals and continues to grow rapidly, becoming a national campaign.