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Campaigners continue heritage view homes fight

Michael Evans is angry about the housing in Cornard approved by the council ANL-150906-165731009
Michael Evans is angry about the housing in Cornard approved by the council ANL-150906-165731009

The chairman of a residents’ association claims district councillors approved new homes in Great Cornard based on a ‘flawed’ planning report.

Cornard Tye Residents Association chairman Michael Evans said he tried to stop a planning meeting, held in May, going ahead at which councillors gave the green light to plans for Persimmon to build 166 homes on 31 acres east of Carsons Drive.

The Great Cornard development – which includes 58 affordable flats and bungalows – was approved by four votes, despite criticism by councillors about the design and layout and the impact on nearby 13th-century Abbas Hall.

Great Cornard Parish Council, Sudbury Town Council, Suffolk Preservation Society, English Heritage and the owners of Abbas Hall, also objected.

Mr Evans said he hand-delivered a “pre-action protocol letter for judicial review” on behalf of Cornard Tye Residents Association to Babergh District Council, urging the council to delay the planning meeting.

He said: “The report to the planning committee was full of legal and factual flaws. It should have been withdrawn and a new report commissioned.

“I am waiting for a response to my letter from the council and then I will consider what action to take. I have applied for a cost protection order for any action taken in the courts against the council.”

Mr Evans warned the council that, because he considered the recommendation in the planning report flawed, if the committee based its decision on the report, it would make “a serious error of law which was liable to be quashed on judicial review by the High Court.”

Mr Evans claims the planning report was misleading because it made legal and factual errors.

He also complained the council failed to properly respond to a Freedom of Information request.

Citing an “error of law as the harm to Abbas Hall” he said: “This is a major development proposed within the setting of a Grade 1 listed building. It follows there is prima facie evidence that conflict with the National Planning Policy Framework is likely, and some proper examination should be undertaken. There is no suggestion this has ever been undertaken by the council.”

He said he had been involved in opposing the development for the last 10 years.

Pamela White, chairman of Great Cornard Parish Council, said she would wait to hear the outcome of the residents’ association’s correspondence with the district council.

She said: “I was disappointed by the result. Some time ago, this application was actually refused, and now it has been given permission to go ahead.

“Where is everyone going to work? There are no jobs here for them to go to.

“I am very concerned about the fact that we need an accident and emergency department to cope with the increase in population.”

Christine Thurlow, Babergh District Council’s Corporate Manager for Development Management said, “Babergh has received a letter concerning threat of a judicial review against planning committee’s decision on the 27th May to grant planning permission for 166 new houses at Carsons Drive in Gt Cornard.

“We are taking legal advice about the matter and will consider the implications and take appropriate action.”

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