Assington Parish Council raises more than £7,000 in two weeks to support legal challenge against nursery development
A village’s legal challenge against the construction of a new nursery school on undeveloped land has raised more than £7,000 in just two weeks.
Assington Parish Council launched a crowdfunding campaign this month, as it awaits confirmation from the High Court over whether a judicial review of the development on land south of the A134 can move forward.
Planning permission was granted by Babergh District Council in December, enabling Yorley Barn Nursery to relocate to the site from its long-time base in Little Cornard, which it was told last year it must vacate.
But the parish council believes the approval disregards Babergh’s planning policy, as well as Assington’s own neighbourhood plan, by permitting building work on a greenfield site, which was not earmarked as development land.
The challenge has been supported by many local residents, with an online petition against the development, set up this month, receiving more than 200 signatures.
Parish councillor Ian Jordan said members supported the nursery’s operation, but they felt a damaging precedent would be set if developments on open countryside such as this are allowed to go ahead.
He also argued that alternative – and more appropriate – sites for the new nursery had not been given due consideration.
“The momentum behind this challenge is very strong,” Mr Jordan told the Free Press. “We’ve always thought we had a good case, but it’s very heartening that we have a case which is very popular in the village.
“We still want to come up with an alternative solution. We don’t want to block everything. We will continue to try to engage with both the council and the nursery.”
To view the parish council's fundraising page, click here.
The community petition against the development can be found here.
Yorley Barn Nursery has said it did carefully consider alternative sites that had been suggested after planning permission was awarded, but claimed they were all deemed to be “completely unsuitable”, for various reasons.
Director Donna Page said: “Having gone through the extremely thorough process of obtaining legal planning permission, during which all objections were discussed and considered, we were absolutely delighted to be given permission and are very grateful to Babergh’s planning department for its support.
“We are very excited about our plans and wish to express to Assington Parish Council and the residents of the village that we are very much looking forward to becoming a valuable part of their community, settling in and getting involved with village life.”