Neighbours upset that 'green' area was dug up without warning
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant
People living in the Bixley Farm area on the outskirts of Ipswich are upset that a "green" area has been dug up by builders.
Builder Chater Homes, which owns the piece of land, had allowed residents to use it as a place to walk and for children to play, and Rushmere St Andrew Parish Council had put its village sign there.
However, the builder and parish council have both confirmed this arrangement was temporary, and has ended because Chater now needs to use the land as a site compound.
Nearby residents say they understand the site, off Bladen Drive and Gwendoline Close, is private land, but feel they should have been told before bulldozers arrived, and are sorry to lose the open space.
Joy Locke, whose garden backs on to the site, said: "It wouldn't have been so bad if they had told us it was going to happen.
"We are now going to have a big builder's yard at the end of our garden. The children all used to play there - the boys used to play football."
Joanna Weaver said: "It was a total surprise. The first we knew about it was when we heard the bulldozer and saw it through our window.
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"This was a lovely place where people could walk their dogs and children would ride their bikes and play football. You would see woodpeckers and Muntjac there.
"On behalf of me and my neighbours, I think we just felt a bit disappointed, and wondered if there was another area that could have been used." She added green areas were especially valued during the pandemic.
A parish council spokesman said: "Rushmere St Andrew Parish Council is aware that there are planning permissions that were granted in the mid 1980s that relate to this area of land.
"Many years ago, we were fortunate to be permitted, by Chater Homes, to erect a village sign on the area in question, with the understanding that this would eventually be revoked.
"Chater Homes advised of their need to make use of their land to facilitate the creation of a new site compound. We fully understand residents’ concerns at the loss of the open area, but recognise that this is private land."
Guy Chater, a director of Chater Homes, stressed the site was private land and had never been an official green.
He said: "We have a piece of land there that we said the parish council could put a sign on, and we said we didn't have any objection to kids playing football there. But then after a while people start to think that it's common land."
Mr Chater said residents nearby might have thought the site was being built on, but it was just having a compound put around it and a surface installed so it could be used to store equipment. The site compound had previously been on another site, but this was now being built on.
He added at some stage in the future Chater did intend to build on the land, and when this was planned residents would be given notice of the proposals.