‘Plan needed’ to protect wildlife in Sudbury’s threatened greenbelt

Cattle at Sudbury water meadows. Picture: Angie Jones

Cattle at Sudbury water meadows. Picture: Angie Jones - Credit: Archant

A map of Sudbury’s green spaces could be produced in a bid to protect the town’s rapidly disappearing wildlife in the face of increasing development.

More than 50 people attended a meeting at St Peter’s Church to raise their concerns about the loss of greenbelt around the town.

They have called for an over-arching neighbourhood plan which includes areas that need protecting.

A panel including town councillors Luke Cresswell and Andy Welsh along with Theo Bird and Ralph Carpenter, a trustee of Suffolk Preservation Society, answered questions from members of the public.

These included local wildlife volunteer George Millins who warned of the potential loss of dozens of native species.

He said: “I look around Sudbury and see nothing but destruction of our wildlife areas. There are green spaces for people, but green spaces for wildlife are completely different things. This is not being considered by developers.”

The meeting comes after the business case for a western relief road was released. The bypass was rejected last time the idea was progressed, due to environmental concerns and the affect it could have on wildlife at the water meadows.

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Lorna Hoey, chair of the Sudbury Society said a compromise was needed.

“I agree that we have a lot of problems to deal with in Sudbury and it’s very easy to be negative but let’s start by making the place look a bit better and then we can start to tackle the issue of a bypass versus the greenbelt,” she said. “We need the green, and we need the bypass desperately. Let’s start small but work towards that compromise.”

The Sudbury Society is working on a map of the different groups in Sudbury so they can pool resources. Mrs Hoey added: “If we all work together, then big things can happen.”

While villages such as Lavenham already have legally binding neighbourhood plans to give them some control over future development, Sudbury does not have its own.

Panellist Ralph Carpenter said: “Sudbury needs its own neighbourhood plan which can identify environmentally sensitive areas. Without a plan or on overview of what’s possible, Sudbury is always going to be fighting itself.”

A future meeting is being planned.