Commemorative trees at centre of Suffolk housebuilding wrangle

Developers have appealed to the Secretary of State against planners' refusal of its bid to build homes by a Suffolk village, which campaigners say threatens several trees commemorating local people.

Rushmere St Andrew - Image: Rob Atherton
Rushmere St Andrew - Image: Rob Atherton

The application to build 14 homes at Rushmere St Andrew near Ipswich was submitted last year on behalf of a consortium of charities. It was rejected unanimously in December by Suffolk Coastal District Council's planning committee, which cited numerous planning policies that it said the application would breach.

Local residents' group, Save Our Rushmere's Rural Identity (SORRI), campaigned against the initial application and is again urging large-scale opposition to the appeal. As well as the visual impact and loss of rural character they would bring, the proposals would threaten trees planted to commemorate relatives of local residents, it has said.

A representative of property consultancy Knight Frank LLP, which submitted the original application on the charities' behalf, said it could find no evidence of the trees being commemorative, but added: "We have carried out an arboricultural survey of the site and intend to preserve as many of the trees as possible."

But Barbara Robinson of SORRI said: "The revised plan shows all bar one of the 165 or so maturing trees on the site are to be removed," and added that an earlier tree survey listed date, species, and reason for planting the commemorative trees.

The current appeal is accepting comments from interested parties until 30 April, after which the case will be dealt with by written representation.

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