Long Melford fights predatory developers

People in Long Melford have been out this weekend protesting to save their village from predatory developers. They were making a pre-emptive demonstration against what they fear will turn into an application to build on a large site.

Long Melford housing protest
Picture: EADT

The East Anglian Daily Times says  residents reportedly…

…began receiving brochures from Gladman Land – a notorious developer that has been described as ‘predatory’ by the National Trust in its pursuit of exploiting planning loopholes to win permission to build on open fields.

Although Gladman has not submitted a planning application, villagers are aware of a recent application from chartered town planners Hourigan Connolly to convert a 19-hectare plot of land off Station Road for keeping horses.

Some believe this being used as a way to turn the green field site, into a brown field site so that a developer like Gladman, could then use it for an application for large scale residential developments, as has happened elsewhere in the country.

Gladman Land is in the murky world of “strategic land” promotion where businesses prepare sites for development by doing the time-consuming work of gaining planning permission, as the Daily Telegraph put it. The paper said:

These companies don’t ever build homes, but work within the labyrinthine planning system, taking advantage of its weaknesses and loopholes.

It’s a modern-day gold rush: the magazine Farmers’ Weekly is filled with adverts for companies offering to prepare agricultural land for building; Gladman Developments, a land promoter, offers its services on a “no win, no fee” basis to lure landowners interested in selling up, claiming a success rate of 90pc. The reason for this is the sheer profit that can be made by obtaining planning permission on a strategic site of land.

Like Debenham, Long Melford does not have a competed and approved Neighbourhood plan to help it shape its own future. And as a part of the Babergh District it would be cover by the joint Babergh and Mid Suffolk Local plan if that had been completed. Nor can the councils demonstrate they have a five year supply of housing development land.

These are the circumstance developers look for because they increase the chances that councils and local people will be unable to resist under the central government imposed planning rules.

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