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Residents fear Lavenham is 'under siege' from excessive development after public consultation launches on new homes proposal

Fears that Lavenham is “under siege” from excessive development have been raised, in response to the launch of a new consultation on proposals for 24 new homes.

Marden Homes is seeking the views of the public on a proposed development west of Brent Eleigh Road, to inform its future submission of a formal planning application to Babergh District Council.

The developer, which is currently building a similar size development in Bears Lane, claims the site is in a suitable location that presents “an opportunity to create a visual gateway into Lavenham”.

Lavenham Village sign..Picture Mark Westley. (42734090)
Lavenham Village sign..Picture Mark Westley. (42734090)

However, at a virtual meeting hosted by Lavenham Parish Council on Monday, concerns were raised about the proposal’s potential impact, and its possible conflicts with the Lavenham Neighbourhood Plan.

Fiona Carville, a resident of Barn Street, said the proposals would exacerbate existing traffic issues in areas such as Water Street, and erode the historic charm of the village.

“We are under siege in Lavenham,” she said. “There are a lot of people who are very unhappy about the rate of development. This is a medieval village and we just cannot cope with it.

“It’s not helping people who have lived in the village all their lives. I wouldn’t mind small developments if we really needed them, but the point is, who are these homes for?

“If they really wanted to do something for the people of Lavenham, there should be more council housing, but it seems that is not government policy.

“We depend on tourism, but the more development we get, it doesn’t make us look like a lovely village. We’re in a conservation area and there’s a lot of heritage at stake.”

Carroll Reeve, chairman of Lavenham Parish Council, stated they have sought to stress to all prospective developers the strength of the village’s neighbourhood plan.

“If a developer is proposing a development, we try to point out the actual situation on the ground,” he said. “For example, Lavenham Primary School is full. It can’t be extended any further.

“We point out the facts on the ground and the strength of the neighbourhood plan.

“I take the view that this is outside the neighbourhood plan and outside the emerging joint local plan.”

The consultation runs until Monday. To view the proposal and to learn about submitting your views, go online to lavenham.onesuffolk.net.

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