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Great Cornard: New twist in the fight to protect an original Gainsborough landscape

PUBLISHED: 09:39 22 August 2014 | UPDATED: 11:22 22 August 2014

The area where Thomas Gainsborough's famous painting of Cornard Wood was created.

The area where Thomas Gainsborough's famous painting of Cornard Wood was created.

A battle to protect land made famous by artist Thomas Gainsborough from future housing is set to resume.

Original plans by Persimmon Homes to build 170 properties in Carsons Drive, Great Cornard, were rejected by Babergh District Council early last year and were subsequently thrown out by a planning inspector following an appeal in November.

But the company has now submitted a revised scheme for the land, which is believed to feature in the paintings Cornard Woods and Mr and Mrs Andrews by Thomas Gainsborough.

The site is also close to the 13th-Century Grade I listed Abbas Hall.

Officials described the initial scheme as one of the “most objected to” ever to be considered by the local authority, branding the proposed buildings as “insensitive” and “like a prison camp”.

An emergency meeting of Cornard Parish Council’s planning committee has been called for this morning to discuss the new application, which has been tweaked with a small reduction in the number of houses – to 166 – and some changes to landscaping and the location of play areas serving the development.

But Mark Newman, district councillor for the ward, believes the application still contains “too many houses in the wrong location”.

He said: “I know we need houses in the Babergh area but Great Cornard has done its bit.

“We want the right development for the village – not tall buildings or blocks of garages that look like ghettos in the middle of a beautiful landscape.

“I am disappointed to hear that Persimmon Homes has applied again, but they have invested a lot of money so I am not surprised.

“The people of Great Cornard don’t want this development, no matter what changes have been made because it’s still the wrong place and the roads won’t take the extra traffic.”

A Babergh spokesman confirmed that the application was currently being “considered on its merits and in the light of the recent appeal decision”.

He said: “The details of the proposal are as indicated within the submission and as shown on the council’s website.

“The case will be reported to committee when all the issues that arise have been carefully examined and we are in a position to make a recommendation to it.”

Earlier this year, land director at Persimmon Homes Anglia, Martin Davidson, said: “Whilst the government inspector dismissed our appeal, he emphatically confirmed the site’s suitability to be allocated for housing purposes.

“We are therefore analysing quite clearly defined deficiencies indicated by the inspector within the previous scheme and will seek to address these points in a revised submission to be made to the council shortly.”

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