Gislingham residents fear homes plan would ‘ruin’ rural church setting

Gislingham residents outside St Mary's Church, during their day of protest against a 40-home outline planning application. ANL-150505-143907001

Gislingham residents outside St Mary's Church, during their day of protest against a 40-home outline planning application. ANL-150505-143907001

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Residents of a north Suffolk village fear the rural setting of a 14th Century Grade 1 listed church would be ‘ruined’ should a housing development get the green light.

New Hall Properties have submitted an outline application to Mid Suffolk District Council (MSDC) for 40 homes off Thornham Road in Gislingham, directly behind St Mary’s Church.

Protesters, who staged a demonstration last Thursday, are concerned that the development is on a greenfield site and is outside the settlement boundary.

The Guardians of Gislingham group was formed last month with the aim to protect the village from proposals on greenfield land, and to provide support to sustainable re-development initiatives.

Founder member of the group, Les Smith, said: “There seems to be more focus on meeting an artificial target for building houses, regardless of location, rather than ensuring that local and national planning policy is being followed.

“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 by MSDC out of hand.”

Mid Suffolk District Council currently does not have a five-year housing supply approved for new homes.