Community petition against controversial proposals for Sudbury rejected by Babergh District Council despite receiving more than 1,600 signatures
A decision to reject a petition against three controversial proposals for Sudbury, which received more than 1,600 signatures, has been branded as “disgraceful”, with the district council urged to reverse course.
Sudbury resident Thomas Morelli submitted a petition signed by 1,662 people on Monday, to show the level of concern around Babergh District Council’s plans to reduce free parking, the withdrawal of funding for Sudbury Advice Centre, and the sale of land at Belle Vue.
But the petition was subsequently rejected on the grounds that it did not include the full addresses of those who signed, meaning it did not meet the district council’s criteria to be considered as valid.
Thomas confirmed he has now sent a letter to Babergh District Council, urging the authority to accept the petition, which was distributed around town this month, so the community’s views could be counted.
The letter was co-signed by town councillors Sue Ayres, Oliver Forder, Louise Fowler, Ellen Murphy and Trevor Cresswell.
At a full town council meeting on Tuesday, members voiced support for the issues raised by the petition, and suggested the district council would be “foolish” to ignore it.
Thomas, of Belle Vue Road, said: “It is absolutely disgraceful that Babergh District Council is refusing to accept this petition, based solely on the fact that postcodes – not full addresses – were provided for signatures.
“To disqualify a showing of collective opinion, based on what could strongly be argued to be a technicality, would be to go against the principles of democracy itself.
“I urge Babergh District Council to immediately reverse this decision, and to accept the petition.”