A tale of two villages: Plans for split vetoed

DISAPPOINTMENT: Villagers in Liston had wanted to break away from the parish grouping that connects them and Foxearth.

DISAPPOINTMENT: Villagers in Liston had wanted to break away from the parish grouping that connects them and Foxearth.

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A request for two villages to split after disagreements over a proposed housing development has been rejected.

On Monday Braintree District Council dismissed the request from Liston residents to split from the joint Foxearth and Liston parish grouping.

Graham Butland, leader of the council, explained that under advice it was deemed the feud between the villages was limited to one matter adding he hoped the villages would return to working well together.

“There is guidance set out which basically says that one shouldn’t take decisions to split parish groups on a whim.

“It should be for at least two terms, eight years, that it has been shown not to work and not on an individual issue.”

Mr Butland said advice also steered away from splitting parishes because of “personality issues”, which he believed was part of the problem, adding that since there was a new parish council since May he hoped these would be resolved and the two villages would return to working together.

George Kasabov, committee member on Liston Residents Association, said: “The residents of Liston will be disappointed that Braintree District Council has not granted our application to dissolve the Grouping Order connecting Foxearth and Liston under one parish council.

“The damage done over the last four years will not be easily forgotten.

“It’s true that there are now new people on the parish council who have a much fairer approach, but Liston still only has one vote compared to the five from Foxearth and our interests may again differ at times to come.

”The people of Liston felt they wanted to be able to make decisions about their own future.”

Despite the veto from Braintree, Mr Butland did offer some hope by adding that a district-wide governance review would take place in two years.

Much of the bad-feeling from Liston residents towards Foxearth parish councillors came when the parish council failed to oppose plans for a 120-home development in the 28-property village.

The plans are to be discussed by Foxearth and Liston parish councillors on Saturday, with a petition against the proposal being collected at the Street Fair in Long Melford on Sunday.

“With the contentious issue of the planning application for Stafford Park in Liston, the Liston Residents Association will continue to fight against an inappropriate development which would make our rural village six times larger and choke the narrow lanes with cars and vans,” said Mr Kasabov.