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Anger after developer appeals to remove bowling green's special protected status

PUBLISHED: 07:30 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:28 12 February 2020

Some of the founding members of the Melton Park CSA, pictured last summer PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

Some of the founding members of the Melton Park CSA, pictured last summer PICTURE: RACHEL EDGE

RACHEL EDGE

Hopkins Homes' appeal to remove Melton Bowling Green's listing as an 'Asset of Community Value' has angered neighbouring residents, who fear it will lead to more housing on the site.

The fenced-off Melton bowling green and, inset, Christopher Hutton-Williams of the Melton Park CSA Picture: CONTRIBUTED/RACHEL EDGEThe fenced-off Melton bowling green and, inset, Christopher Hutton-Williams of the Melton Park CSA Picture: CONTRIBUTED/RACHEL EDGE

Hopkins' appeal argues there was "no legal basis" to list the land as an ACV, as it had been out of use for nearly a decade.

The Melton Park Community Scheme Association had submitted the ACV bid to East Suffolk Council last November to ensure the site remained in community use, for purposes such as allotments or tennis courts.

It came after Hopkins & Moore, which is affiliated with Hopkins Homes, submitted an application for three homes on the site.

The plans were met with scores of objections, including from Melton Parish Council.

The bowling green in 2002 when it was still in use Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe bowling green in 2002 when it was still in use Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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Opponents highlighted a Section 106 agreement, signed by Hopkins Homes, which pledged to protect the site as part of the Melton Park development in the 90s.

Hopkins said the bowling green had been out of use for nearly a decade. But objectors warned the change of use could have "wider implications" for protected sites.

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Hopkins withdrew its application and soon after East Suffolk Council also approved the residents' ACV application.

A barn owl at the bowling green, pictured in 2013 Picture: CONTRIBUTEDA barn owl at the bowling green, pictured in 2013 Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The Melton Park CSA said it was not surprised by Hopkins' appeal.

Members said they were angry the green had been fenced off.

Christopher Hutton-Williams said the ACV aimed to enhance the protection of the site for recreation and warned that its removal could set a precedent for more homes on other green spaces.

"We will contest Hopkins' appeal against the ACV listing vigorously," he added.

The bowling green pictured after being cleared by workmen last year Picture: CONTRIBUTEDThe bowling green pictured after being cleared by workmen last year Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Simon Bryan, development director for Hopkins Homes said the company had kept in communication with councils about its plans.

"We have made clear we intended to appeal the designation of the land as an ACV," he added.

"It remains our intention to submit a planning application for this unused piece of land and we are in contact with Melton Parish Council and other community groups to agree a suitable way forward, including looking at wider community benefits."

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