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Campaigners aim to raise £30,000 to cover legal costs for judicial review of controversial housing development in Bures St Mary




A long-running fight over controversial homes in Bures St Mary will now be taken before the High Court, as opponents look to raise up to £30,000 to fund the legal battle.

A judicial review into Babergh District Council’s approval of a partly-built development on Cuckoo Hill has been filed by Bures St Mary Parish Council, on behalf of villagers, who have agreed to cover the legal costs through crowd-funding.

Babergh’s planning committee green-lit three retrospective applications for four houses on the old slaughterhouse site in August, but imposed demolition notices on the other two.

Bures residents are campaigning against a controversial partially-built housing development in Cuckoo Hill. Picture by Mark Westley. (14567774)
Bures residents are campaigning against a controversial partially-built housing development in Cuckoo Hill. Picture by Mark Westley. (14567774)

Community campaign Keep Bures Beautiful, which has criticised the district council for reversing its refusal of all six homes a year earlier, has now distributed leaflets around the village to garner support, and has organised a series of fundraising events for the new year.

Campaigner David Cousins told the Free Press the strength of feeling across the village had prompted the decision to pursue the legal action, which he hopes will be heard by the court in the first half of 2020.

“The issue is strongly felt,” he said. “There’s a breadth of opinion that the Bures community is being ignored by planners when it comes to making their decisions.

“There is a considerable feeling of injustice, in regard to the approval of the scheme in the first place, and the problem with enforcement of the original planning permission. The final decision in August was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

He added that the legal costs will be recovered if the review is successful, and the money will be distributed back to all named contributors.

The first fundraising event is a bring-and-buy sale at Bures Community Centre on January 12, from 2pm to 4pm.

To find out more about fundraising, email Kenn Butcher via kennbutcher07@gmail.com.

Developer Stemar, which initially received permission for six homes back in 2015, has submitted an appeal of its own to the Government’s planning inspectorate, seeking to keep all six buildings standing.


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