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Battle over East Bergholt homes looks over – no veto from government

PUBLISHED: 16:55 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:55 08 November 2017

Peter Dent, chair of the campaign group Action East Bergholt at the site of 144 homes proposed for Moore's Lane. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Peter Dent, chair of the campaign group Action East Bergholt at the site of 144 homes proposed for Moore's Lane. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

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The long-running saga over plans to build nearly 230 new homes in East Bergholt could be nearing its end after the government refused to call in the proposal.

The site of the proposed homes in East Bergholt. Picture: LUCY TAYLORThe site of the proposed homes in East Bergholt. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

That means that Babergh council’s decision to approve the plans in August looks set to be the last time the issue will be discussed by politicians and it is only a matter of time before planning permission is finally confirmed.

However campaigners insist the fight is not over.

Babergh’s planning committee agreed August to give planning officials the authority to issue planning permission once negotiations over the conditions for three new developments were concluded.

These are for 144 new homes on land next to Moores Lane, 75 new homes next to the Constable Country Medical Centre and 10 homes for over-55s next to Gatton House.

There has been widespread opposition to the plans for new homes in East Bergholt.There has been widespread opposition to the plans for new homes in East Bergholt.

The Department for Communities and Local Government had three months to decide whether to call in these decisions for a ministerial review, but the council has now been told its decisions will be able to stand.

That means officers can go ahead and finish the negotiations with developers allowing work to start soon after planning permissions are formally granted.

The news comes after a long campaign by East Bergholt Parish Council and local protesters who claim that the new homes will ruin the character of the village that was home to John Constable.

Peter Dent, from Action East Bergholt, was disappointed at the news from the government – but not surprised. He insisted the campaign against the proposals would continue, possibly in the courts.

He said: “The battle is not over. We are sad the Secretary of State didn’t call these decisions in but we are talking to the barrister who won us an earlier case to see whether we have grounds for a judicial review of the decision.

“The problem is that if we get a judicial review it is only on procedural matters. You then get the application submitted again with the procedural matter ironed out and they approve it again. We need to find a way of stopping this altogether.”

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge said parish councils and Babergh District Council needed to get their neigbourhood plans and local plans adopted with clear housing allocations to prevent legal challenges in the future.

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