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Fight against ‘ridiculous’ plan for 144 homes in Constable Country ‘gathering momentum’ as 100 protest signs put up

PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 July 2015

Action East Bergholt is campaigning against the proposed development of 144 homes in East Bergholt.

Action East Bergholt is campaigning against the proposed development of 144 homes in East Bergholt.

Campaigners opposed to proposals to build almost 150 homes in the Suffolk countryside immortalised by John Constable believe their fight is “gathering momentum”.

Action East Bergholt is campaigning against the proposed development of 144 homes in East Bergholt.Action East Bergholt is campaigning against the proposed development of 144 homes in East Bergholt.

Around 100 objection placards have been put up around East Bergholt in protest to the proposed development, which would bring a mix of 50 affordable homes and 94 town houses and apartments to the outskirts of the village where the landscape painter was born and raised.

Peter Dent, chairman of Action East Bergholt, said in January the campaign group is determined to protect the artist’s legacy.

Since then, he said opposition has grown. Earlier this month, more than 300 people “packed out” a village meeting – one of the biggest attended in living memory, Mr Dent said.

He said: “The unprecedented scale and inappropriateness of what is being attempted has stirred our community into action. We will not allow the tranquil images so famously depicted by Constable to be permanently destroyed.

Peter Dent, chairman of Action East Bergholt, who is campaigning against the proposed building of 144 new homes in the village Peter Dent, chairman of Action East Bergholt, who is campaigning against the proposed building of 144 new homes in the village

“We have already seen a great deal of support from within the village from residents who have offered their overwhelming support to our ‘no’ campaign. If you had asked me what our chances were a few months ago, I would have probably said ‘not great’. Now, we are gathering momentum.

“We hope that the strength of this feeling will prompt Babergh District Council to realise that not only is it wholly unacceptable to our community if this irresponsible plan for 144 houses gets approval, but that they also have a responsibility to preserve some of the most iconic, traditional landscapes in British history.”

The housing estate, which would increase the number of homes in the village by around 20%, would be built on a site off the B1070 – adjacent to Moores Lane. Around 2,250 people currently live in East Bergholt.

Mr Dent added: “We are not against development. Villages need new homes, but not in that place and not at that magnitude. It is ridiculous.”

A Babergh District Council spokesman said: “Babergh can confirm it has received a planning application for 144 new homes in East Bergholt.

“This application will be considered in line with planning guidelines and any representations from members of the public on the proposal can be submitted to us.

“The application will be heard by Babergh’s planning committee in due course.”

The two developers involved – Bidwells and Knight Developments – both declined to comment.

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