The villagers of East Bergholt seem to be taking NIMBY'ism to a new extreme. They object strongly to a new planned development of 144 houses in their Suffolk village, home to some of Constable's best known paintings.
As such Bergholt's Parish Council is threatening to break free from Babergh District council and defect to the Essex borough of Colchester.
The problem they have is that Babergh District has recently been judged to have less than five years of housing land supply. Crucially this means local planning regulations are overruled in favour of national policy which favours developers
Will they succeed?
I would say this is a long shot. The Boundary Commission will accept boundary changes due to population changes but not to affect national housing policy.
Any move in this direction would be an over-reach by the Boundary Commission and would raise a number of political eyebrows.
The fact is there has been significant under-supply of housing by successive Governments and with prices out of reach for a number of first time buyers it is somewhat inevitable these disputes will be repeated right across the South East.
Residents of the, for now, bucolic idyll that is East Bergholt believe changing counties is the only way to protect the local landscape from the threat of developers. It means settings made famous around the world by the romantic artist, such as Willy Lott’s Cottage and Flatford Mill, could be lost to Suffolk forever.