Protesters step up homes row

IPSWICH: Furious protesters are today preparing to step up the battle to prevent the development of a “green lung” on the edge of town.

The borough council owns the 11-acre Kiln Meadow site on the edge of Pinewood – even though the land is actually in Babergh district.

Kiln Meadow is sandwiched between Spring Wood and Bobbit’s Lane nature reserve – and it is home to the largest recorded colony of toads in the country. However, the borough is now set to sell it in a multi-million pound deal that could see 170 homes built on the site.

The borough’s executive will discuss the sale on July 13, and the recommendation will be to sell. Deputy leader John Carnall said: “We have been made a multi-million pound offer from a developer and it really is an offer we are unable to refuse.

“The council needs capital receipts to allow us to repair and invest in our other buildings – without capital receipts we could not have repaired Crown Pools, Fore Street baths, the Regent, or the Town Hall and Corn Exchange.”

The council will ensure that development can only take place on seven of the 11 acres – and said the four acres left clear as a nature reserve includes the area used by 90 per cent of the toad colony.

Mr Carnall said: “We believe we have struck a very good compromise and �1million of the money we get for the land will be set aside for new environmental projects all over the town.” However, Ray Sidaway from the Ipswich Wildlife Group, which is leading the battle to save Kiln Meadow, said: “Where do they get their figures that 90pc of toads use that part of the meadow? They haven’t done any survey there.

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“Are they relying on our figures showing where the toads cross Bobbit’s Lane? If so, that is not at all reliable because the toads can fan out across the meadow.”

Two petitions have been organised – one with 800 signatures from residents who use the open spaces and a Facebook petition with 320 signatures. They are due to be presented to councillor Paul West on Monday.

Babergh has already granted outline permission for development on the site – although this decision was criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman because of a lack of a full environmental assessment.

n Should Kiln Meadow be developed? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk

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