Knights Development Letter



Action East Bergholt represents villagers, passionate about their vibrant, diverse community, who stand determined to prevent large housing developments spoiling Constable’s village



This article relates to a letter from a housing developer to a council in an attempt to remove a councillor from an application planning process. Unfortunately for the developer, they mistook statements from another person, for those from the councillor. The letter appeared on the council’s public website. A copy of the letter from the council public website is available below.


Read on for further explanation.


On Tuesday 5th Jan, the Babergh District Council (BDC) website page containing documents for planning application B/15/00673, for 144 houses at East Bergholt, had a new entry. The file was described as ‘public comment’, and titled “Knight Developments letter from William E Anthony”. Mr Anthony is the managing director of Knight Developments.














From the Babergh website


The letter addressed to the Monitoring Officer BDC, was a request from Knights that a Conservative councillor, remove himself from the vote on the application, on the grounds of pre-determination. It listed some comments from a political website and items on Twitter purporting to show emphatically that he “…cannot make an objective decision on the proposals…”.









From the Letter


This is a very serious allegation to make against a district councillor, and it should be incumbent upon Knights to make sure that their grounds for the claims are backed up with robust facts. However, amongst some other points of contention there is a very large error in their letter, namely that they incorrectly ascribe comments made about the application appearing on the political website, ‘Conservative Home’, to the councillor. The two comments which form the major part of their case against him were in fact written and submitted to conservativehome by someone else. There is a superficial similarity with their respective names.


It is not necessary at this point to speculate why Knights may have made this elementary error of identification and assignation, but it certainly destroys their case against the councillor, and a great deal of their credibility. Their other points, relating to the councillor’s Twitter social media entries, are about the New Homes Bonus which contain no references to the application at East Bergholt. There is a further piece about a Private Members Bill on planning, but again without mention of East Bergholt or the application in question, it carries no weight.


It also opens up questions about this affair:


  • from who, how, or why, did Knights bother to trawl and obtain the comments from the publicly accessible, but not mainstream conservativehome website?


  • was the person who saw and passed on the information to Knights, sufficiently familiar with planning matters to recognise the significance of the comments, but otherwise peripheral to the people involved?


  • the failure to check the identity of the originator of the comments is sloppy and amateurish; can we trust that Knights will apply the right professional standards in other submissions?


  • should we accept that it is responsible of a developer to mount a campaign of fishing for information detrimental to a councillor, as a normal practice?


  • the attempt at removal of the councillor, elected last year, from the planning decision puts Knights at odds with the people of East Bergholt; do Knights really want to be seen as subverting local democracy?


  • did Knights believe that this letter would in any case endear them to local people or other councillors who might have supported their application?


The erroneous letter was subsequently reported to Babergh, and later removed from the public website.

Knight Developments letter from Babergh public website


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