Call for new village homes decision to be squashed

Michael Evans is angry about the housing in Cornard approved by the council ANL-150906-165711009

Michael Evans is angry about the housing in Cornard approved by the council ANL-150906-165711009

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Chairman of Cornard Tye Residents Association, Michael Evans, is continuing his fight to stop a new housing estate being built near an historic building.

Babergh District Council was forced to reconsider its decision in May to approve 166 new homes near the Grade I listed Abbas Hall in Great Cornard following a legal challenge by Mr Evans who lives near the site.

As a result of Mr Evans’ letter, on behalf of the residents’ association, the council agreed to reconsider the planning application by Persimmon Homes, saying it was good practice for members to reconsider it in light of the legal challenge.

But in July councillors again approved plans for 166 new homes near the hall which has cultural associations with Thomas Gainsborough.

The artist’s work Cornard Wood and Mr and Mrs Andrews are said to have been painted in the vicinity of the building and grounds.

Following the council’s decision to go ahead with development on land east of Carsons Drive, Mr Evans hand-delivered another pre-action protocol letter to the council last week challenging the decision of the planning committee.

Mr Evans says that decision was unlawful and was flawed by a number of issues relating to the material harm the development would do to Abbas Hall and the fact that no alternative sites for the homes were considered.

He said: “The upshot is that the planning balance - which has been purportedly carried out by the council’s officers and adopted by the committee - is materially flawed and wrong, and the decision should be quashed.”

He has given the council 14 days to reply but he says that in the absence of a satisfactory reply to his claim, he intends to issue proceedings for a judicial review “without further notice”.

He added: “There is a statutory presumption and a strong one against granting planning permission for any development which would fail to preserve the setting of a listed building, particularly one which is listed Grade I as in this case.”

Mr Evans said he had no intention of dropping the claim and says the council should quash its decision.