Villagers called to public meeting

MORE than 100 people are expected to attend a public meeting to raise concerns that up to 800 homes could be built on green fields.The public meeting has been called in Onehouse as villagers fears the housing development would swamp their village, making them a suburb of Stowmarket.

MORE than 100 people are expected to attend a public meeting to raise concerns that up to 800 homes could be built on green fields.

The public meeting has been called in Onehouse as villagers fears the housing development would swamp their village, making them a suburb of Stowmarket.

Leading housebuilder George Wimpey UK has approached Mid Suffolk District Council to earmark land between the Chilton Fields and Onehouse for new homes in the Local Plan – the planning blueprint for the area.

Although at an early stage, such a major scheme is already causing a furore in the community from worried residents, environmentalists who decry the loss of green fields and traders who fear the town centre will have little to offer without more investment.

There is a need to build new homes across the country and Stowmarket is seen as a good commuter town for people, with A14 and rail links on hand.

The public meeting will include a panel of people taking questions, including Arlene Cruickshanks, parish council chairman, David Ruffley, MP for the village, a senior Mid Suffolk District Council officer, a representative from a company acting for Wimpey and the village's district councillor, Bruce Laker.

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Ray Taylor, a parish councillor and one of those who would see their homes encroached by houses, said: "We will rev up the village to attend, circulating leaflets to homes. Our fear is that the village will be encroached by Stowmarket."

Mr Ruffley added: "People choose to live in villages and we have to respect that, not tell them they have to be joined up to a town, changing the character of the area.

"It's not a case of not wanting a single house, I am not anti development, but we need to find out more. People might be worrying unnecessarily."

The district council has said if the development did eventually go ahead, the land could include a park area and community centre, reducing the amount of land available for houses. The final number of homes built could be 400.

Wimpey has declined to comment in detail while the process is at such an early stage and no-one was able to comment further yesterday.

n The public meeting will be held at the community centre in Onehouse on November 21 from 7.30pm.

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