|The view into Swaledale - nowhere near Sudbury but lovely nonetheless|
The fields are at their most golden and shadowy now, their soft lines framed by the ash trees; the sloes and blackberries are swelling, and plums squash underfoot. Two bikes are abandoned by the track, left by children who are exploring the woods. A young couple smooch in the weakening summer light. A flushed jogger from the local estate waves, as his Spaniel strains to get off the lead and on to the open land.
Twelve months on, it is not the spectre of ghosts that face us, but bulldozers. We are at the centre of a battle for the countryside threatened by potentially drastic “planning reforms”. As Clive Aslet outlined this week in The Daily Telegraph, under the new government proposals, the opportunity for effective local opposition to housing developments will be superseded, and cash incentives offered to councils to pass plans in a bid to boost the economy with a quick-fix, concrete-coated solution.
Yet that view is now threatened by a development of 170 houses. Despite passionate opposition, not just from ourselves but more than 2,000 locals, English Heritage and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, plans are close to being approved.