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)




20th February 2006







2000+ individuals from Suffolk and Essex signed up as supporters of the Friends of SGCAG


As a result of recommended changes to Babergh District’s Local Plan Draft 2 by the Inspector at Public Inquiry, a dramatic and radical shift in emphasis in favour of developers in Special Landscape Areas has taken place.


Previous wording including “strict control of development” and “no alternative site available” have been removed and replaced with totally ambiguous and detrimental language including “permitted….(when)designed and sited to harmonise with the landscape setting”


Richard Ward, Director, Suffolk Preservation Society commented” The changes may appear insignificant but this is not the case. They could make the difference between a wind farm being built in the area SLA, or it being refused planning approval. The changed wording would make it more easy for developers to obtain planning permission. Given the commitment from the Council to the original wording it appears inconsistent that they appear to be prepared to even entertain the amended wording. Local people and communities have expressed their preference very clearly and there is no reason to override them. The Council should listen to their voice” 


Stefan Kosciuszko, Chairman of the SGCAG commented:


“This proposed wording brings SLA’s to the level of protection similar to that accorded to any open countryside. Nothing of our beautiful District will remain sacrosanct. The totality of Babergh District SLA’s will be open to what Babergh District Council has called a “small wedge” of proposed 170 home development concreting over Gainsborough views and running along the whole side of Great Cornard South. This cannot be permitted and must be changed by Council officers and Councillors following the current Public Consultation period. Call your Councillor to object and get a form from Babergh Council to send in to express your views. This is the only way this travesty will be changed.”


An online poll arranged by the Suffolk Free Press has 93% of respondents saying the Carson’s Drive area should be protected from development as an SLA and as heritage Gainsborough views. 






3/59 for the Housing Development

6/5 for the Special Landscape Area






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.


David Dimbleby, world renowned broadcaster has voiced his objection to the proposed development concreting over this beautiful area and has joined as a Vice President of the Friends of SGCAG.


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 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 2000 individuals and continues to grow rapidly, becoming a national campaign.