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Campaigners continue fight against housing development with fundraising events

PUBLISHED: 16:13 06 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:13 06 August 2018

Protesters in Long Melford against a development on land off Station Road Picture: JOHN NUNN

Protesters in Long Melford against a development on land off Station Road Picture: JOHN NUNN

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A west Suffolk community is continuing its fight against a housing development with a series of fundraising events in preparation of a possible legal battle with the developer.

A quiz was held to fundraise for the Save our Skylark Fields (SOS) campaign Picture: SOS COMMITTEEA quiz was held to fundraise for the Save our Skylark Fields (SOS) campaign Picture: SOS COMMITTEE

The SOS (Save our Skylark Fields) campaign was launched earlier this year to oppose plans to build 150 homes in land off Station Road in Long Melford.

The proposal is currently awaiting consideration by Babergh District Council’s planning committee, but the action group is committed to raising money ahead of a potential appeal by the developer Gladman Estates – should the application get rejected.

Campaigners have cited infrastructure problems and visibility issues with the development as well as the proposed site being next to a nature reserve.

A number of fundraising events such as a quiz and sales of a photographic calendar of the village have secured funds for the campaign, with more planned.

Lisa Tipper, SOS chairman, says the group is “feeling hopeful” ahead of planning application hearing, which will take place in the middle of September at the earliest.

Last month’s announcement that Babergh has demonstrated more than six years of land supply, putting the council in a stronger position to refuse inappropriate proposals, is also good news for the group, Mrs Tipper said.

She said: “We are not against development as a village, there are two housing developments going on at the moment.

“The reason the community is so behind us on this is that it’s so unsuitable in so many ways. We’re feeling hopeful that the application will be rejected, especially after Babergh’s announcment on the five-year land supply.

“Gladman often appeal, so we’re fundraising for that eventuality, to cover costs for legal fees and experts.

“If there is no appeal, then we have pledged that the money will go back into the village in the way of donations to local charities.”

The group held an SOS quiz on June 15 in the village hall with more than 140 people taking part, and £1,053 was raised.

A stall at the Long Melford Street Fair, where the village calendar was sold, also raised £824.

The group’s next scheduled events are a table and craft sale at the Old School on September 23, and a race night on September 28 at the village hall.

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