Resounding 'no' to housing scheme

A MULTI-million pound housing and leisure scheme is today in tatters after villagers gave a resounding 'no' to the Capel St Mary development.Nearly 900 people – more than 87 per cent of the turn-out – voted against the proposal at a parish council poll yesterday.

A MULTI-million pound housing and leisure scheme is today in tatters after villagers gave a resounding 'no' to the Capel St Mary development.

Nearly 900 people - more than 87 per cent of the turn-out - voted against the proposal at a parish council poll yesterday.

Stewart Harris, Capel St Mary parish councillor, said the development would be very unlikely to go ahead and felt the decision may have a detrimental affect on the village.

He said: "I thought it would be of great benefit to the whole community, but one can see why quite a large number of people would feel that their property value may be affected.

"The individuals have voted decisively but I don't know whether the community over the next decade will thank them for that.

"It has been divisive within the community and I very much regret that."

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The plans were at the centre of controversy last month when hundreds of angry villagers joined forces to boot out the board of the Capel Community Trust for the way they handled the consultation.

The trust, which owns the land on which the development is earmarked, was accused of acting undemocratically because no legal public consultation was held.

Opponents also blamed the trust for a lack of transparency with the details of the Redrow Homes development.

The parish council stepped in to arrange yesterday's poll.

The deal involved selling off part of the existing playing field for housing while buying another parcel of land.

This would be used to create a leisure park twice the size of the original within three years.

The residential area would have consisted of around 80 new homes - both sheltered accommodation and affordable housing for first-time buyers - plus a modern doctor's surgery and a car park.

Leisure facilities would also have included a new tennis court, bowling green and children's play area.

The new leisure park would have been around 20 acres rather than nine, with two senior and two junior football pitches.

There would also have been a new cricket pitch and pavilion, including changing rooms and a community social room.

N What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

N Opinion, page 4.

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