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Page updated - 28 December 2005

SFP - 15 Dec 2005


Houses for area painted by Gainsborough

Cornard land ‘sacrificed’ for housing

by Jo Thewlis


COUNTRYSIDE painted by Thomas Gainsborough could be bulldozed after a bid to save the land failed. Babergh councillors voted at Tuesday's Strategy Committee meeting against protecting the fields near Abbas Hall in Great Cornard from developers who plan to build 170 homes on the site. Peter Beer, chairman of Great Cornard Parish Council, said: "I am very disappointed. We have sacrificed Cornard for the whole of the district."


The valley, which inspired Gainsborough's painting Cornard Wood in 1748, has been recommended for development by a planning inspector who deemed the site unsuitable for special landscape area (SLA) status. It is hoped the site will pro­vide homes to soak up a shortfall of housing in the district. Mr Beer, who proposed an amendment to save the site from the borough council's local plan, said: "We are already going to provide 150 houses with the developments at Chilton, Bakers Mill and Cornard rugby club." Despite concerns the site would create traffic chaos and place a strain on village roads, schools and services, councillors pushed the scheme forward to a public consultation stage.


Councillor for Great Cornard South, Humphrey Todd, who voted against the amendment, said: "We can't ignore the 500 people on Babergh's waiting list for housing and Sudbury and Cornard has the greatest need for housing in the area. "Objections to the scheme must be voiced and discussed in a full and proper consultation where public needs can be met." More than 60 residents packed a meeting of Great Cornard Parish Council en Monday evening to protest against the proposed development.


David Tower, a resident of De Greys Close said: "We just haven't got the infrastructure in Cornard. "We have got a part-time fire and police service, we are just not built to stand this." Residents also voiced fears that Great Cornard was becom­ing a dumping ground for all of Babergh's housing problems. Matthew Pett, of Carsons Drive, said: "They are trying to develop all the green area out­side Cornard. "It is going to turn into a con­crete jungle like Haverhill with crime and everything that comes with it."


Michael Evans, chairman of the Cornard Tye Residents Asso­ciation, said: "If the plan goes ahead as is now proposed with 170 houses it will be devastat­ing." But Mr Evans, who has pub­licly objected to the scheme, added: "We haven't had a chance to make 6ur views known but the public consultation part will start now."


The text above was first published in the Suffolk Free Press on 15 Dec 2005 and kind permission to reproduce it on this website was given by:


Paul Holland

News Editor - Suffolk Free Press

Borehamgate, Sudbury Suffolk. CO10 2EE

Tel: 01787 375271