And so, the formal response is on its way, and I can relax just a little. Here's my summary of our thoughts as a Parish Council...
It would be fair to say that Creeting St Peter has lived with the prospect of development of the site for a quarter of a century or more, and we are realistic in terms of our expectation as to its future. However, we feel that there is an opportunity for the District Council to create something which is an exemplar in terms of the future of the workplace post-Covid, offers a positive experience not only to investors but to the workforce and reflects the villages and communities that surround it.
The site itself is, we acknowledge, not an area of outstanding natural beauty but as part of the working countryside it serves as an escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life, both for its residents and for those who take advantage of the opportunities it offers. It is a refuge for flora and fauna that would otherwise be driven further into the margins. This will be lost, and not replaced.
We are also concerned as to the effect that Gateway 14 will have on our hamlet village. The poor state of our road network, the risks of increased traffic flows through a village without a means of separating pedestrians from other road users, and the encroachment of the site, extending Stowmarket two-thirds of the way across the gap between town and hamlet, will impact on our community for many years to come.
Under such circumstances, it is not unreasonable to ask what Mid Suffolk District Council is offering to our community in terms of benefits that might accrue. Simon Knott, the highly regarded chronicler of East Anglia’s churches, wrote of our Parish Church;
“St Peter is separated from its village by the four lanes of the A14, the roar of which can be heard from the churchyard. How has this happened? Simply, Creeting St Peter consists mainly of council houses and farm cottages, working people’s houses. People like this do not get asked if they want a motorway at the bottom of the garden.”
In this instance, whilst we acknowledge that we have been asked, we want to know that we are being listened to as well, and we trust that you will take our reasonable concerns into account in reaching a judgement on the acceptability of this planning application and the conditions you set upon it.