News From Erwarton

Controversial New Homes Plans Scrapped

Wednesday, September 20, 17.00

A controversial bid to build five new homes next to the historic Erwarton Hall has been withdrawn.

The plans submitted him VRH Veenbaas, owners of Erwrton hall Farm, requested permission to convert disused farm buildings into large family homes., however they faced fierce opposition.

Babergh planning officers received 15 letters objecting to the proposed development, with no letters of support. Suffolk Highways, the AONB, Historic England and other statutory bodies also objected.

The objectors included Mr and Mrs Kyle, who own Erwarton Hall and pointed to the detrimental impact the development would have on the historic building and traffic issues..

As part of their written submission outlining their reasons for opposing the plans, which they were not consulted before the application was made, the Kyles wrote: "With the proposed proximity of families with young members we also fear a little specifically for the safety of the Erwarton Gatehouse which for almost 500 years has stood, vulnerable and unprotected in this location, fondly regarded by antiquarians, the local community as a whole and many who come from far to see it."
 The outline application stated the L-shaped houses would become one three-bedroomed, and up to four four-bedroomed houses, with car parking spaces for 26 vehicles.

 Although Erwarton Hall is a Grade 2* listed c16 building, the outbuildings, on the left hand side of the Gate House and drive leading up to the hall, were built in the 1800s are not graded.

The owners have explored the possibility of converting the barns into holiday lets but this proved to be unviable.

Erwarton Hall was built by Sir Philip Calthorpe in the mid 16th century and renovated by Sir Philip Parker in 1572. His niece Anne Boleyn was a regular visitor and it is claimed she entertained King Henry VIII at the house.

It is understood a new application could be submitted if many of the outstanding issues can be resolved.

Full details can be found on the Babergh planning site under application: D/18/02062.

District Ward To Be Reshaped And Called Ganges

Tuesday, August 7, 08.00

Erwarton and Shotley parishes are to come under a newly formed Ganges ward in the Boundary Commission review of Babergh district wards.

The two villages are currently looked after by two district councillors as part of Berners ward, which also includes Chelmondiston, Woolverstone and Freston.

However, the new ward boundaries will reform after the Boundary Commission released its final recommendations, which will go before Parliament when MPS return from the summer recess in September..

Newly named Ganges, Stour and Orwell wards will replace the bulk of the current two-member Berners and one member Holbrook wards and overlap into Belstead and Tattingstone. 

The Local Government Boundary Commission For England (LGBCE) had originally looked at making much of the peninsula a three-member ward, but representations by Holbrook councillor David Rose, supported by Shotley councillor Derek Davis and a couple of parish councils, pointed out that would be unworkable and the panel agreed.

Ganges, named after the former Royal Navy Training Establishment, will comprise of Shotley and Erwarton and be looked after by just one district councillor.

Boundary commissioners took into account of development at the former Ganges site, comprising of 285 new homes, a small hotel, residential care home, a café, retail units and a number of community facilities, which would add to the electorate.

Stour ward, named after the mouth of the river, will also be a one member ward and will now take in Harkstead, Holbrook and Stutton, making it slightly larger than the current ward.

On the other side of the peninsula Orwell ward, will also be a one-member ward but will include Belstead, Wherstead and Tattingstone along with Freston, Woolverstone and Chelmondison.

Brantham will become a one-member ward as expected growth will also boost the electorate there.

The division of those four wards means the same geographical area will lose one district councillor.

In total Babergh district council will reduce the number of councillors from the current 43 to 32, serving 24 wards, with the changes coming into effect at the next district council election in May 2019. 

In its report the Boundary Commission explained how it changed its original recommendation of forming  three member ward to three single member wards after representations were made.

Cllr Davis said: "As a former HMS Ganges boy I'm delighted that the Shotley and Erwarton area will become known as the Ganges ward. I'm delighted the commission took notice of our suggestions and have adopted the three different wards, rather than one huge ward., which I believe would have been unwieldy.

“It is a difficult balancing act in getting the allowed variance in electorate numbers marrying up with geographical areas to comprise the number of wards needed.

“However, while the Orwell ward seems a little stretched with Belstead a bit out on a limb.

“It makes sense for one member to serve the area, rather than three trying to cover everything from Shotley to Belstead, especially if some councilors do not necessarily pull their weight locally.”

Cllr Alastair McCraw, current Alton ward member, added: “The best bit about the new ward structure is that the Peninsula will have four single member wards.

"Brantham & Ganges are two large population centres. There are some compromises in the centre, because equal representation is very important. I like the names of Orwell & Stour.

"The parish groupings follow the roads connecting them and should have similar concerns because of it. But every parish will have one councillor to deal with and to help them."

A little further afield, Capel St Mary, which is subject to some large scale development will also become a one-member ward, while Copdock and Washbrook, will stretch from Bentley to Hintelsham, but new-look Sproughton and Pinewood ward will become a two-member ward.

The LGBCE was tasked to reduce district council members but ensure they improved electoral equality by equalising the number of electors each ward councilor represents. They had to take into account community identity and provide effective and community local government.

Further information can be found on their website www.lgbce.org.uk

Five New Houses Could Be Built Next To Erwarton Hall 

Monday, June 4, 08.00

Five new homes will be built in the grounds next to the c16 Erwarton Hall if plans are approved by Babergh council. 

JRH Veenbaas, the owners of the farm next to Erwarton Hall, which is on the outskirts of the village and goes back to the early 1500s, has applied to convert disused farm buildings into large family homes.

The outline application states the L-shaped houses will become one three-bedroomed, and up to four four-bedroomed houses, with car parking spaces for 26 vehicles.

Although Erwarton Hall is a Grade 2* listed c16 building, the outbuildings, on the left hand side of the Gate House and drive leading up to the hall, were built in the 1800s are not graded.

The owners have explored the possibility of converting the barns into holiday lets but this proved to be unviable.

Erwarton Hall was built by Sir Philip Calthorpe in the mid 16th century and renovated by Sir Philip Parker in 1572. His niece Anne Boleyn was a regular visitor and it is claimed she entertained King Henry VIII at the house.

 Legend has it just before she was executed Queen Anne wrote that the best days of her life were spent in Erwarton and so her heart was buried in Erwarton.

In 1883 a velvet pouch with dust inside was discovered during renovation work at St Mary’s Church, Erwarton and is now buried below the church organ.

The Admiralty initially leased Erwarton Hall from the Berners family estate for the Commanding Officer and his family at HMS Ganges’ in 1905 until 1962, when it paid £11,000 for the red brick building, which is understood to have a tunnel linking the training establishment and the hall, although both ends were blocked off long ago.

The four-bedroomed hall and land was no longer used by the Royal Navy when Ganges closed in 1976 and is now in private use with the Veenabaases running a nearby stud farm on land near to the hall.

Comments regarding the application DC/18/02062 can be made until the June 21 deadline.

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