I have looked at the application to redevelop East House.
While I am supportive of the work proposed to the house within its immediate boundary, I do object to the proposal to extend this development beyond its boundary and into the public area known as Cox’s Park and the annexing of yet more open public land by our local authorities in order to balance their books and suit the needs of potential developers. This is an important town centre open space and should be preserved at all cost.
Should the whole development be approved, we will see, again, a considerable area of public recreational facility being lost.
It is not enough that a very large area has already been annexed to provide a playing field for the school and a major extension to the swimming pool by the building of the leisure centre.
To take this remaining area and destroy several mature, healthy trees and deprive the public of valuable open space, to me, is a crime against our community.
I would have thought that the local authorities would now wish to retain what open spaces remain to facilitate outdoor recreation, in particular, as we may anticipate increased foot fall to this area as a result of the new leisure centre.
It is not enough for Babergh to suggest that land swap with a small area in Pykenham Way will compensate for this act; it will not, in that we are reducing the size of a substantial recreational area for a smaller, less beneficial area, which is likely to be under-utilised.
It may look good in the eyes of the Babergh bean counters and box tickers but not if looked at as a community proposition.
I regularly pass through this area while walking to and from the town centre and, in particular, during the summer months often see young people relaxing in the area. It is also popular with dog walkers and the like all year round so in my mind there is little doubt that the facility is welcome and well used.
Hadleigh is a rapidly growing town which even more now needs to preserve large central areas of green open space, not build on them.
I do not see developments of this like eating away at Hyde Park in central London where great care is taken to preserve such areas of open recreation. London clearly recognises the importance of such areas for the well being of the residents, yet, Hadleigh does not, appearing to do its very best to remove such facilities.
I believe that Babergh District Council, which I assume is supported in this matter by Hadleigh Town Council, has made a serious error of judgement to seek to build on this land and I am saddened that as I write, none of our elected representatives appear to be objecting to the development as it stands.
This decision is being taken by both elected and non-elected public servants who, quite clearly, are disinterested in the welfare of the Hadleigh population and interested only in their own agenda – I for one will remember when the next local elections take place.