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Objections raised to housing development plans next to wildlife site in Sudbury due to concerns over impacts on protected species

Plans for a housing development next to a key wildlife site in Sudbury have drawn a wave of objections, due to concerns that it would devastate rare and protected species nearby.

Property developer Pelham Structures has submitted an application to Babergh District Council, seeking permission for five self-build homes at the site of Grove House, located off Middleton Road.

In its design and access statement, the developer says that careful consideration was given to the plans for the former quarry site, which it claims will “create an appropriate addition to the surrounding area”.

Adrian Walters is a ranger for the Sudbury Common Lands Charity. (34456343)
Adrian Walters is a ranger for the Sudbury Common Lands Charity. (34456343)

But the Sudbury Commons Lands Charity (SCLC), which has managed the neighbouring Wardman Meadows for more than 20 years, lodged its strong objection to the proposal, describing it as “an unacceptable, speculative attempt to build in a totally inappropriate location”.

The charity explained the meadows, which hold county wildlife site status, have thrived because of the lack of disruption, but argues that construction activity, traffic and light pollution would lead to a decline in numerous species, such as otters, hares, bats, reptiles, barn owls, water voles and badgers.

Adrian Walters, SCLC ranger and clerk to the trustees, told the Free Press: “Quite frankly, we’re rather shocked that anybody who owns the Grove House site does not see themselves as a custodian of that landscape and is prepared to compromise the wildlife value in order to make some money.

“The application falls outside of the development planning area for Sudbury, so it’s not earmarked for development and it doesn’t really fit under any planning policy.

“We also have concerns that the sense of place and tranquillity would be completely destroyed. It might be a brownfield site, but it has been for over a century, which means it shouldn’t be considered acceptable for development.”

The charity has also expressed concerns about mature trees being felled if the development is given the green light by planners.

Its objections have been echoed by the Dedham Vale Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) and Stour Valley Project, which believes the plans would contribute to the erosion of the landscape south of Sudbury.

Meanwhile, Sudbury Town Council has also recommended refusal of the proposals, citing highways access issues.

The application can be viewed on Babergh’s online planning portal, using the reference DC/20/00926.