Residents of Gislingham have been out in force protesting about a proposed 40-home development they claim will ruin the rural setting of the village’s 14th century Grade I listed church.
New Hall Properties has submitted an outline application to Mid Suffolk District Council (MSDC) for 40 homes off Thornham Road, directly behind St Mary’s Church.
Last month, residents set up a group to fight the plans, calling themselves Guardians of Gislingham.
Protesters staged a demonstration at the church on April 30, concerned the development will be built on greenfield land outside the settlement boundary.
Les Smith, a founder member of the group, said: “This proposal is inappropriate for the village, fails to meet many of the policies set out in the MSDC planning guidelines, fails to meet the needs of the local community and fails to meet the criteria for sustainable development. It should be rejected out of hand.”
Eric Sheehan, chairman of the group, said: “We are not saying that homes should not be built.
“We are just saying no to developments that don’t make sense, are not sustainable and are not in fitting with the village.
“I think it is really important that residents get to voice their views.”
Mr Sheehan said the proposed development would block views to the church, ruining its rural charm.
“At the moment the church can be seen from the surrounding fields and paths.
“If the development goes ahead the rural aspect of the church would be detrimentally affected.
“We also have bats who live in the church and use the field as their feeding ground. What will happen to them?
“This is a green field site and should be sacrosanct.”
Mid Suffolk District Council currently does not have a five-year housing supply approved for new homes.
For more information visit www.guardiansofgislingham.org.uk