Forty objections lodged over plans to build traveller site on Bury St Edmunds woodland

Woodland, on Rougham Hill
Woodland, on Rougham Hill
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Forty objections have now been made against plans for a family-run traveller site in Bury St Edmunds.

Residents, developers and a councillor are among those who have added their concerns over the proposals for a five pitch private residential traveller site on woodland, off Rougham Hill.

Echoing previously made objections, they have hit out at the potential loss of a community woodland, argue the plans ‘fly in the face’ of the St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Vision 2031 framework for growth and fear the impact on nearby neighbourhoods.

The plans have been submitted by the Delaney, Casey and Collins extended family who have been pitching up on sites around Bury for the last four years and are looking to establish a permanent base.

In a letter to St Edmundsbury Borough Council, a retired forester, who planted the woodland to commemorate the amalgamation of East and West Suffolk Councils in 1973, said: “Surely there can be no justification in eradicating a woodland used and enjoyed by local people now, and future generations to come - does this council create green areas for people only to let them be destroyed when ‘convenient’?”

Cllr Sarah Stamp said the lack of a masterplan for the South East strategic site, under Vision 2031, meant the application could not be dealt with yet. She added she was ‘against any development’ on the woodland site and felt the established trees should be protected.

The Home Farm Lane (South) and Hardwick Park Gardens Residents’ Group said the plan is an ‘unjustified intrusion’ into Vision 2031 and ‘undermines the masterplan process’. Another resident said it ‘flies in the face’ of Vision 2031.

An objection was lodged by AMEC on behalf of developers Hopkins Homes and Pigeon who want to build a ‘ high quality neighbourhood’ on the South East strategic site. They argue the traveller site would be ‘at odds’ with their development and the loss of the woodland will cause ‘detriment to the overall quality of the local area’.

In a planning statement, agent Michael Hargreaves said that rather than the woodland ‘being available as a positive amenity for the community in practice the site has an unsavoury reputation, is used as a pick up place and requires monitoring by the police to manage anti-social behaviour’. The mature trees and more ecologically rich eastern section of the woodland would be retained. He added that experience shows small family run traveller sites are ‘usually well managed and over time are accepted within the local area’.

A council spokesman said a date has not yet been set for the plans to be considered by councillors but it is likely to be January.