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Online petition voices loss of confidence in Babergh District Council's handling of housing development in Bures




Bures residents outside Endeavour House in Ipswich, after Babergh District Council's planning committee rejected an application for a controversial development on Cuckoo Hill in 2018. Photo supplied by Clare Frewin. (13368111)
Bures residents outside Endeavour House in Ipswich, after Babergh District Council's planning committee rejected an application for a controversial development on Cuckoo Hill in 2018. Photo supplied by Clare Frewin. (13368111)

A new online petition, expressing a loss of confidence in Babergh District Council’s handling of a controversial housing development in Bures St Mary, has accrued almost 200 signatures in under a week.

The Keep Bures Beautiful community group launched a petition titled No confidence in Planning or Enforcement at Babergh District Council, which claims the authority has failed to “deal fairly, correctly and in timely fashion” the past and current applications relating to six homes on Cuckoo Hill.

The houses at the former slaughterhouse site were stopped short of completion after they exceeded the maximum height allowed in the original plans approved in 2015, and an amended application was rejected last year.

Villagers are now fighting three fresh applications for four of the six homes, submitted by developer Stemar, which has continued to install utilities at the properties.

Petition creator Kenn Butcher, of Friends Field, who chairs the Keep Bures Beautiful group, said he found many questionable aspects in Babergh District Council’s actions and attitudes towards the development, claiming it had been unresponsive to residents’ concerns.

“I’m very surprised the council continues to accept these applications,” Mr Butcher told the Free Press. “The people living near the site have no information about what the council is doing.

“It has been five years of uncertainty for residents. It’s on their mind when they wake up and when they go to bed. It’s hard to escape.

“Personally, I don’t think the site, as it is arranged, is suitable for development. This is meant to be a conservation area.”

In response, a spokesman for Babergh District Council said they have sought to be open and transparent during the process, and will continue to do so to resolve the current applications, adding that it will give a full response to the petition when it is submitted.

“We have dealt with applications on this site over the past five years and it is clear that it has become a controversial development,” the spokesman said.

“At every stage at which a decision could be taken by planning committee members, it has been in open meetings, which the public have been able to attend.

“The current applications will likewise be considered in open committee where residents will be welcome to attend and speak.

“We always welcome petitions from our residents and, when it is submitted, it will be put before members in an open meeting.”

To view the petition, go online to you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-confidence-in-planning-or-enforcement-at-babergh-district-council.



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