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Horkesley Park would damage tranquillity of Dedham Vale - MP Bernard Jenkin
1:00pm Saturday 5th October 2013 in News
BUILDING a visitor centre at Horkesley Park would detract from the “peace and tranquillity” of Dedham Vale, a north Essex MP has told a planning inquiry.
Bernard Jenkin, Conservative MP for Harwich & North Essex, spoke at the fourth and final day of an appeal by Bunting & Sons against Colchester Council’s decision not to award planning permission for the Stour Valley Visitor Centre.
The Bunting family insist the centre, including an art gallery, a Suffolk punch horse centre, a Chinese garden, gift shops, countryside experiences and exhibitions, would create 150 jobs and draw in 316,000 visitors a year.
But Mr Jenkin said this would “detract” from the Dedham Vale area of natural beauty, on which part of the site lies.
He said: “I have grown to love and to cherish Dedham Vale, as I am sure the appellants do too.
“But how does this justify infrastructure to support 316,000 visitors per year, supported by an art gallery to celebrate an artist whose original paintings are already on public display all over the country, and a Chinese garden whose relevance to Suffolk Punches, or to John Constable, or to Dedham Vale is utterly baffling?”
Mr Jenkin added he had been “overwhelmed” at the number of people contacting him to express their opposition to the project, while very few people had spoken in favour.
At Friday’s hearing Mr Jenkin’s colleague, South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo, also voiced his opposition to the traffic impact the centre would have.
Discussions were also held on what upgrades and contributions Bunting & Sons would offer if the appeal was successful.
A final decision is due early next year.
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