Coastal: High Court challenge key to the future growth of district
06:00 15 January 2014
Future housing development proposals for the Suffolk Coastal area could be clearer by the end of this week – depending on the outcome of a High Court hearing.
A legal challenge over the district council’s blueprint for the area’s growth over the next 15 years is due to be held at the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand, London, tomorrow and Friday.
Council planning officials, accompanied by legal representatives, are due to attend court for the judicial review of the new Suffolk Coastal Local Plan brought by No Adastral New Town (NANT), which claims the council failed to comply with strict planning directives when it sanctioned the Core Strategy of its Local Development Framework during the preparation of the plan.
The judicial review specifically concerns housing numbers, their distribution and the proposed allocation of 2,000 homes at BT’s Adastral Park site at Martlesham Heath.
Until the court case is heard and its outcome known, the council cannot move forward with its Local Plan – particularly the work to identify specific sites for new homes.
If the court finds in favour of NANT, it could throw into doubt the Adastral Park project and lead to a revision of part of the district plan.
Cabinet member for planning Geoff Holdcroft said: “I can confirm that this council believes it has a very strong case and we will be stoutly defending the claim.”
NANT will be asking the court to quash policies within the core strategy.
The group objects to housing being mainly restricted to one area of the local countryside, claiming development would have an “irretrievable negative impact” on the River Deben estuary.
The Local Plan identifies a need for 7,900 new homes in the district by 2027.
Of these, 2,320 would be build on the eastern Ipswich fringe, including the Martlesham Heath project, with 1,760 in Felixstowe and the Trimleys, 1,520 in market towns such as Framlingham, Leiston and Saxmundham, 1,350 in villages, and the council reckons there will be around 850 “windfall” homes on sites which become unexpectedly available for development.