The end of the Chilton Hall Saga
Members will remember that we have visited Chilton Hall twice. The first time was in 2006 when Lady Hart outlined the problems relating to a planning application for Prolog to build two large warehouses operating 24/7 on an area adjacent to the English Heritage listed Chilton Hall and its gardens and the EH listed Chilton church. The warehouses were designed to be higher than the church tower. Despite the legislation designed to protect listed buildings and landscape and also that there were skylarks, toads and bats being present, which are also protected species, planning permission was granted.
But, Lord and Lady Hart, owners of Chilton fought on, it has to be said that Lady Hart has an utterly outstanding knowledge of planning and she succeeded in getting a judicial review and quashed the application. This went on for years and SGT was proud to support their representations also on behalf of the Garden History Society and the Association of Gardens Trusts. They were also supported by the SPS, CPRE, the Sudbury Society and Chilton Parish Council.
When we next visited in June 2012 for our AGM in Chilton church and then visited Chilton Hall, courtesy of Lord and Lady Hart, matters were still not resolved, despite innumerable judicial reviews. This week it was announced that Prolog was going to abandon the site and relocate their activities in the East Midlands. This is a remarkable victory for all protected buildings and landscapes and the Harts are to be congratulated for winning this very protracted and intense battle.
I went to the hearing at Babergh and was so impressed how the Harts presented their case, but at the same time depressed at how easily the Councillors accepted Prolog’s claim that 400 new jobs would be created, when it is well known that warehousing creates very few jobs and the reality was it was relocation of existing jobs in the Sudbury area, the majority of which were part time or zero hours contracts. For me the highlight (lowlight?) of the pro Prolog arguments was the skylark solution! A suitable field had been identified at Groton, four miles hence as the skylark flies. Presumably all inward migrating skylarks would be asked to adjust their skylark satnavs to the Groton site!
So many, many, congratulations Lord and Lady Hart on behalf of all listed buildings and landscapes everywhere.
If Members know of any Planning Applications which impinge upon historic landscape or gardens, they should contact SGT and Suffolk Preservation Society.