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Villagers facing final showdown with developer over plans for new homes

Campaigners from Long Melford outside Suffolk County Council offices in December Picture: NEIL PERRY

Campaigners from Long Melford outside Suffolk County Council offices in December Picture: NEIL PERRY

Archant

Campaigners fighting controversial plans for a new housing development in a picturesque Suffolk village are preparing for the final showdown with developers after a long-running battle.

SOS chairman Lisa Tipper Picture: NEIL PERRYSOS chairman Lisa Tipper Picture: NEIL PERRY

The application for 150 homes on land off Station Road in Long Melford, which was first lodged by developer Gladman 16 months ago, has faced fierce opposition from villagers.

A campaign named Save our Skylark Fields (SOS) was launched in protest to the application and more than £30,000 has been raised through village quizzes and events for the legal battle.

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Villagers claim the development is unsuitable for Long Melford and there is not the need for the homes.

People from Long Melford on the Save Our Skylark Fields march Picture: RICHARD MICHETTEPeople from Long Melford on the Save Our Skylark Fields march Picture: RICHARD MICHETTE

MORE: 'Common sense has prevailed' - Application for 150 homes in village refused

Babergh District Council's planning committee unanimously voted to refuse the plans in December, but Gladman appealed prior to the hearing on the grounds that Babergh did not resolve the application in the timeframe required.

The decision now lies with the planning inspectorate and the enquiry, which is expected to last six or seven days, will begin on June 25 at AFC Sudbury Football Club at 10am.

Lisa Tipper, chairman of the SOS campaign, said the community has been "very supportive" in opposing the plans.

"We've raised more than £30,000, which has paid for our experts and printing," she said.

"There are 200 Save Our Skylark boards up in people's gardens and lots of posters in residents' windows.

"A lot of people have been very supportive, which is always good and will sit well with the inspector.

"We are fighting Gladman on three key points, landscape, need and policy.

"The inspector will also visit Long Melford on one of the appeal days so he is able to see for himself the site and setting."

MORE: Protest march planned to oppose housing development in village

Mrs Tipper added that she is taking confidence from previous village victories against Gladman.

"Bures won recently against Gladman as did Steeple Bumpstead," she said.

"I think we've got a pretty good chance, if I was a betting man then I would back us."

Babergh District Council said it would not comment while the appeal was ongoing but confirmed the authority was standing by its committee's decision from December.

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