We moved to Suffolk in January 1991. We had always wanted to get away from town life in London and live in the countryside. When a new job opportunity near Norwich arose for Sam, we made the move to a village near Bury St. Edmunds. We loved being surrounded by arable fields, and our boys were always excited to watch the combine harvesters and tractors at work.
Nearly 30 years on from that happy day, there’s an unwelcome change I see every day as I drive the 12 miles home from work. To get home I usually take the scenic back route from Bury town centre past fields of crops, and have always taken delight in the changing seasons while watching the fields being ploughed and drilled, and then the crops being harvested. I know the change had to happen, but it’s happening too fast…
Hundreds of houses are going up like there’s no tomorrow. Great swathes of fields are being sold off to developers, who are building what I can only call ‘Lego’ houses. These houses are slowly causing the boundaries of Bury St. Edmunds to move rapidly outwards. As farmers in other villages near to Bury sell off their land as well, it looks to me as though soon there will be no boundaries at all and Bury St. Edmunds will meet up with the Lego houses being built in all the surrounding areas.
We’ve had many lovely years of rural living here, but now there are plans for another 60 houses in our village, on top of the other new housing that has already been built. Residents have no say in the matter. There is of course the usual ‘meeting’ in the village hall with developers and council officials, but hey, the ink has already dried on the contracts.
Nowhere is safe from developers. Farmers sell off their land as I expect it is now unprofitable to keep it going. Developers snatch it up and turn it into a construction site. Do they worry about whether the infrastructure can cope with the influx of so many new inhabitants? No … they’re too busy counting the profits.
Our village school is full. There is one shop, and only a couple of buses per day that go to Bury St. Edmunds. Each property will eventually have one or two cars on the road, and sometimes it’s quite dangerous walking along the country lanes now.
It ain’t good. The Isle of Wight beckons, but I expect they’re building hundreds of Lego houses over there as well…