Land activity raises fears at prospect of large development in Long Melford

A bird's eye view of Long Melford.
A bird's eye view of Long Melford.

Unexpected activity on land in Long Melford has raised worries locally over the prospect of yet another site potentially being developed in the future.

The Free Press has received reports of surveyors carrying out a survey on land off Martyns Rise on Sunday, November 12 — despite the site being not currently earmarked for development in Babergh’s Draft Local Plan.

Melford residents and councillors have voiced concerns in recent weeks over the amount of development either planned or already in progress in the village.

Graham Eade, chairman of Long Melford Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Plan committee, said while the council has not had any official word about the Martyns Rise site, they felt the village was already “oversubscribed” with development.

“I think we have to be very careful with what you put in Long Melford,” Mr Eade told the Free Press.

“It’s horrendous for parking now and it’s just putting so much pressure on the school and the doctor’s surgery. The whole infrastructure just cannot cope with it.

“We recognised we have got to have development in the village, but we want to look at where we build, the type of houses and what size, rather than ‘here is a big plot of land, let’s put a load of houses here’.

“It’s an old Tudor village and we don’t want to lose its character.”

During the Local Plan consultation period, which ended earlier this month, the parish council lodged its objection to development earmarked for a site behind High Street and Harefields.

Richard Kemp, parish, district and county councillor for Long Melford, commenting on the possibility of development off Martyns Rise, said: “Personally, I think if that whole site is developed, it’s the death knell for Long Melford in its current form.

“We would become part of a conglomerate. Long Melford as a standalone community would be destroyed.”

A spokesman for Babergh District Council confirmed the land off Martyns Rise was not included in the Draft Local Plan, and no applications have yet been submitted.

Their assessment stated: “This site is very large, set in open countryside and a majority of it is separated from the existing settlement.

“This creates a disjointed addition and therefore would have a negative impact on the townscape.”

However, they added this assessment is not a planning ruling and does not make developing the site impossible.

They said any planning application that might come forward for the land would be judged on its own merits.