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The Local Plan Inquiry
By Jan Byrne
As far as Hadleigh is concerned the Inquiry is effectively over and the Inspector has no more evidence to hear about proposals affecting our town. The Society presented both written and spoken evidence on a number of issues including Lorry Parking, Mixed Industrial/ Residential development and of course the Supermarket Issue. John Bloomfield and I represented the Hadleigh Town Council and the Suffolk Preservation Society on these topics.
The Inspector is expected to complete the rest of the Inquiry hearings by March but it will be more than a year before his report is available and even longer before Babergh’s reactions to it are known.
Without doubt the most dramatic part of the Inquiry was the two days given to the proposed allocation for a supermarket on the riverside. Tesco, the Co-op and Babergh all fielded QCs together with various expert witnesses and some of the Council Officers had a hard time. Some of the highlights were:
· An admission that the Suffolk County Council Highways department considered the proposed entrance via the bungalow site unacceptable.
· Although the Highways department supported the other entrance proposal, they admitted that it did not meet the minimum safety standards, due to a blind spot. They claimed that it didn’t matter because it was only a momentary blind spot.
· It was clearly established that Buyright do not need additional planning consent to allow a supermarket to open within part of their present store.
Our written evidence given to the Inspector consisted of 24 A4 pages illustrated with several colour photographs. This was then the basis of our oral evidence which was slightly augmented, particularly in response to questions.
We must bear in mind that apart from the Inquiry Tesco still has a planning application in the system which was submitted on Christmas Eve 2003 and which they may attempt to pursue at any time.
The following is the summary of our evidence on the riverside site submitted to the Inspector.
Babergh District Council’s reasons for identifying the Brett Works / Riverside site for a supermarket appear to be wholly based on PPS 6 and the sequential approach whilst ignoring the ‘suitability’ of the site. When the proposal was made to remove HD 01a and replace it with HD 01b the planning officer made it quite clear to Council members that PPS 6 had to be obeyed and made no reference to other guidance or statement documents. (The QCs agreed with our interpretation)
The Officers seem to have ignored PPG9, RPG 14 (or RPS 14), PPG 15, and PPG 25.*
PPG 25 now has great importance with the announcement by the Environment Agency of the increase in the height of the local flood plain. This change clearly identifies that either of the exits from the site to Bridge Street, and the car park, will be flooded to a depth at which cars will float, but in severe flood conditions the whole site would be flooded to a depth of at least two metres.
The Suffolk Preservation Society, The Hadleigh Society and Hadleigh Town Council believe that the risk of flooding makes the site unsuitable for a supermarket.
The Retail need. The Hadleigh Society and Hadleigh Town Council believe that the enlargement of the Co-operative supermarket and the intention of Lidl to open a store in the Buyright building negate any need for another supermarket in the town.
Public opinion. The residents of Hadleigh and those who come in to shop from the surrounding villages have made it quite clear that they do not want a supermarket to be built on the Brett Works / Riverside site. With each attempted assault made by planners or developers on the site the strength of feeling of residents has increased. The Government and the District Council are both making clear their intention of ‘listening to the people’, but the District Council is clearly ignoring the large majority of residents who are opposed to HD 01b.
*PPGs are the government’s Planning Policy Guidance documents, PPS is the consultative document issued prior to a change in a PPG; RPG and RPS are the regional equivalents.
In the early 1900s a Cottage Hospital was founded at 7 and 9 George Street with the aid of funds largely provided by Dr Franey, with the day to day running expenses provided by public subscription. The Hospital closed when the National Health Service came in and the sale proceeds were invested in the Charity which today bears Dr Franey’s name.
Margaret Jeffery is trying to find out more about the Hospital and Dr Franey and would be grateful for any recollections you may have. Please contact her - Margaret Jeffery, Clerk to the Franey, Rand and Pest House Charities at 1 Cottesford Close, Hadleigh. Tel. 01473 822056
by J.Dempsey. Watercolour 31.2cm. x 22.9 cm. Gift of Mr. C.E. Docker in 1956 to The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, as described in our Newsletter of August 2004
Next Event - The Battle of Maldon and the Danish Conquest
Our next talk is at 8pm on Wednesday 2nd February in Hadleigh Old Town Hall when Dr Sam Newton will give an illustrated presentation on the two phases of the coming of the Danes to East Anglia. We shall first look at the Danish kingdom of Guthrum in the late ninth century before considering the return of the Danes in the late tenth century and, in particular, the Battle of Maldon. Our understanding of the latter is enormously enhanced by one of the greatest surviving Old English battle-poems, which provides an almost blow-by-blow account and details which help us locate the site of the battle around the Northey Island causeway [below; author's photograph].
On Tuesday 12th October 2004 Michael Stone responded to the question “What did ‘ag labs’ actually do?”. In today's agricultural world of one man and his tractor it's hard to remember that only a short while ago the majority of the population was employed as ag labs, the census abbreviation for agricultural labourer. From his studies of the 1842 Farm Labour Ledger of Shrubland Home Farm, near Coddenham, Michael Stone brought to life the records of how 100 men were employed over the course of a year. Under the organisation of the Farm Manager was a range of special skills, each with its own pecking order of head man and followers. A middling weekly wage would be 10s but some, such as those working with livestock, and especially horsemen, would be paid more, some less. Some work, such as harvest, would be piecework, hard work, well rewarded. Some 50 men and boys would be on the books, with another 44 employed seasonally. The farm employed 3 regular carters and another younger man. Many journeys would be to Ipswich with wheat, barley and peas, and back with a whole range of supplies, but twice a year a man would take 4-5 days journeying to London and back. Ploughing went on all round the year, and a ploughman would walk 16 miles in the course of a day. Then there was the dibbler, walking backwards at great pace, with the family following with the planting. Haymaking and drainage were particularly crucial activities and timber was an important crop for all its varied uses. Around the farm were other associated works, such as the brick kiln, the lime kiln, the gravel pits, the ice house, rat killing and mole catching. Ag labs would be deployed here when the need arose. At the end Cyril Cook reminded us that the description would have been familiar 250 years earlier.