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Inquiry spotlight on housing plan

PUBLISHED: 10:21 14 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:47 05 July 2010

A PUBLIC inquiry took place this week as residents in Oulton tried to stop an area of land near their homes becoming part of a new housing estate.

Kenneth Alexander, of Wood Lane, has applied for the land at the old Suffolk Fat and Bone site to be legally registered as a village green, and this week that application was investigated at the Wherry Hotel.

A PUBLIC inquiry took place this week as residents in Oulton tried to stop an area of land near their homes becoming part of a new housing estate.

Kenneth Alexander, of Wood Lane, has applied for the land at the old Suffolk Fat and Bone site to be legally registered as a village green, and this week that application was investigated at the Wherry Hotel.

The old site and neighbouring field, off Church Lane, are popular with families, dog walkers and bird watchers, but to be registered as a village green it has to be proved that it has been used for recreation for at least 20 years.

Speaking at the opening day of the planning inquiry, Mr Alexander said: “The site is full of wildlife and enjoyed by all. Such sites are very few in our area and it would be a shame not to keep this for future generations to come and enjoy. No one has ever prevented me from accessing the site.”

Mr Alexander and his supporters argue that the factory site, which used to process animal carcasses for disposal, has been used by villagers ever since it closed in early 1987.

However, the owners of the two areas of land have objected to the proposal, claiming that the factory buildings were still on the site until about 15 years ago, restricting its use as public open space in the past.

Douglas Edwards, representing Danisco Beaminster, one of the landowners, said that contractor's documents show that the factory did not close until 1988 - less than 20 years since the village green application was lodged early last year - and the last buildings were not demolished until 1993.

Mr Edwards said that a heavy-duty gate and fence were put in place in 1992 to stop trespassers getting in from Church

Lane.

The site already has outline planning permission to become part of the 800-home Woods Meadow development, which was approved by Waveney District Council's development control committee in 2007.

The inquiry ran from Monday to Wednesday and now everyone must wait for the inspector's report.

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