A new campaign group, aiming to fight overdevelopment in Long Melford, has urged Babergh residents to band together to stop developers from “running roughshod” over the district.
The Save Long Melford’s Skylark Fields community action group has gained more than 260 members since forming three weeks ago, in response to potential plans for another large housing development in the village, which came to light at the end of last year.
The Free Press reported earlier this month on concerns over an application by chartered town planners Hourigan Connolly to convert a 19-hectare plot of land off Station Road for keeping horses – a plan that villagers and Long Melford councillors argue will lay the groundwork for developing the site with new homes.
Residents believed their fears were confirmed when Melford households began receiving a brochure in the post from developer Gladman Land, asking for the public’s opinions on the idea of a housing development on land off Station Road, although no application for this proposal has been submitted yet.
The community group has held two meetings this month to discuss its plan of action and has gained backing from Long Melford Parish Council.
Volunteers delivered flyers around the village over the weekend, urging people to lodge their opposition to the plans with Babergh District Council, with more than 100 objections submitted online.
Letters have been sent to South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge and others in central government in the hope of gaining support for the cause.
The group has now organised a walking tour of the village for Saturday, February 3, at 10am, starting at Cordell Place, to highlight the issues, and it hopes to see hundreds of people in attendance.
A spokesman for the Save Long Melford’s Skylark Fields group told the Free Press: “We are in this for the long haul. I think a good percentage of the village is against this sort of development.
“This is a quiet village that wants to protect what it has got. We are a rural community and we wish to remain that way.
“It’s not that we don’t want any development, but we don’t want massive development.”
The spokesman added that there were similar issues with many of the development proposals in the Sudbury area, including the major Chilton Woods development that gained outline permission last year, and, by co-ordinating a response to all of these applications, residents would have strength in numbers to fight against overdevelopment.
The prospect of development off Station Road in Long Melford has raised concerns about problems with access to the site and dangers due to the lack of visibility, the strain on schools and health provision, the potential for flooding caused by displaced water, and damage to heritage due to the loss of an archaeologically significant site.
In Long Melford, more than 200 homes are already either under way, or have received the green light to go ahead.
Developments currently under construction include 77 new homes in Ropers Lane and another 44 houses at the former Fleetwood Caravans site in Hall Street, while a number of other applications have been granted planning approval, including 71 new homes at land off Bull Lane.