East Bergholt considers Suffolk-divorce fight in housing row
Residents of a Suffolk village are considering a fight to become part of neighbouring Essex in their battle to prevent 144 homes being built.
As reported in the East Anglian Daily Times, East Bergholt – the birthplace of artist John Constable – may try to "divorce" Suffolk in the housing row.
Campaigner Peter Dent said Colchester Borough Council, in Essex, was known for its preservation of heritage sites.
"I don't care if Suffolk would miss us. That's their problem," he said.
"We've got a Colchester postcode, we've got a Colchester phone number, we would like to give it a try and work with a council that would respect the village and the heritage of Constable Country."
East Bergholt has been fighting plans for new homes for a number of years.
In 2016, residents won a judicial review to block the building of 10 homes.
The issue was raised by Mr Dent at an annual parish council meeting in the village, where the chair asked residents for a show of hands to signal their support for the idea of becoming part of Essex.
"Almost everybody, bar one or two, put their hands up," said Mr Dent, who reiterated the decision would have to be confirmed by the parish council before a village referendum would be held.
Mr Dent, chair of Action East Bergholt, claims Babergh District Council "ignored the neighbourhood plan" which residents had spent "a lot of time and money" putting together.
"We have fought with them long and hard for the last 18 months, and we are continuing to fight," Mr Dent said.
"Frankly, we'd like to move to somewhere where we don't have to battle night and day."
The chief executive of Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council, said he was "acutely conscious… many people have lost trust in their district council".
Arthur Charvonia said he has held meetings with the parish council and will shortly meet the East Bergholt Society.
"Repairing relationships and trust will take time… the community will need to judge Babergh District Council by our future actions rather than by my words," he added.
"I look forward to supporting East Bergholt to deliver its priorities as set out in its neighbourhood plan."