Residents seek to protect town park

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A park in Hadleigh could be protected from development in the future if an attempt by residents to secure village green status for the land is successful.

Babergh District Council had submitted plans to turn East House, in George Street, into flats and use Cox’s Park, behind the house, for houses, but withdrew its application in March.

Residents who campaigned to save the park have now begun the process of applying for town green status for the land in order to protect it from development.

Gavin Talbot, one of the organisers of the campaign, said: “The village green legislation enables communities to protect places that they value.

“We are trying to protect the park as a whole. Obviously we are doing this in terms of the East House application but this is wider than that – we want to protect the green spaces in Hadleigh.”

As part of the process, Mr Talbot and other campaigners have begun collecting evidence that residents use the park for sports and activities.

This will be submitted to Suffolk County Council which will decide on the proposal as the registration authority.

“For more than 25 years that green has been used as a park by the people of Hadleigh,” he said.

“Babergh District Council’s own policies say there is not enough open space in Hadleigh and it needs to look at ways to improve that situation. This would help it fulfil its own policy.”

More than 1,000 people signed a petition objecting to the council’s planning application. A picnic was held on the park in June to gather support for the campaign.

A Babergh District Council spokesman said it was working on a new application.

“The redevelopment plans put particular emphasis on open space provision,” he said.

“We plan to hold a public exhibition outlining the proposals, which would allow the public to comment on and engage with the redevelopment process.” He said the exhibition would be held before any plans were submitted and no deadline had been set.