‘We will be ashamed of this plan forever’

SUPPORT: Villagers are against proposals for new homes in Long Melford.
SUPPORT: Villagers are against proposals for new homes in Long Melford.

Villagers protesting against new homes being built in Long Melford say a council-commissioned traffic survey has strengthened their case.

David Watts, chairman of the Fleetwood Caravan Neighbourhood Group, said the independent report commissioned by Babergh District Council was a waste of money because it stated what campaigners already knew – that the proposed estate roads are too narrow.

Commenting on plans for 51 new homes by David Wilson Homes at the former caravan site off Hall Street, Mr Watts said: “Suffolk County Council, as the highways authority, has already said it will not adopt the roads because they are not wide enough; they are not even suitable for a refuse vehicle to go down which leaves us with the problem of 51 bins being left in a conservation area.

He added: “All we want is something the village can be proud of for years to come, not something that makes a profit for the developer which then disappears, causing problems for the village.”

Another resident, Vivian Woodward from Hall Street, said the village was not against the site being built on, but residents wanted better quality homes and wider roads.

More than 800 people, out of a population of 2,500, had signed a petition against the homes, he said.

“We believe this is going to force a sub-standard development in our village,” he said. “We will be ashamed of this plan forever.”

He said an estimated £700,000 in section 106 money – funds paid to local authorities by developers to offset the impact of the work – would be given to the district council if the homes went ahead.

Mr Woodward said: “Because the stakes are so high, the council will railroad it through. As a result, we are being forced to have something we don’t want.”

A district council spokeswoman said: “Comments concerning any linkage to section 106 money are not accepted. It was necessary for the council to obtain specialist highway views on the acceptability of the scheme.

“We have indicated that we are happy to attend a parish council meeting to explain the position on this case, but no firm date has yet been set.”