Felixstowe: Concern voiced over loss of high-grade farmland taken for housing

Calls have been made to protect farmland on the edge of Felixstowe from housing development - two parcels of the highest quality land have recently been given approval for homes. Calls have been made to protect farmland on the edge of Felixstowe from housing development - two parcels of the highest quality land have recently been given approval for homes.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
12:02 PM

Fears have been voiced over the future of top-quality farmland at Felixstowe as pressure mounts to find sites for nearly 2,000 new homes.

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Food security

Ensuring there is enough food to feed a growing population in decades to come will become the world’s number one priority.

The global population is forecast to rise from the current 7billion to 9billion by 2050 – and it will not stop there.

Just to house 2bn extra people will mean concreting and tarmacing over an area of land 400 times the size of London – taking more land which is used for food production at a time when there is a need to feed another 2bn.

Increasing amounts of land will also be taken to produce biofuels with fossil fuels we traditionally use for power declining.

Futurologists say the changes will make food a highly expensive commodity, as highlighted by pension funds which are already investing in agricultural land or land which could be turned to food production because of its future potential high value.

Planners say there is not enough brownfield land for the homes needed – and up to 80% of them will go on greenfield sites in and around Felixstowe and the Trimley villages.

Campaigners have secured protection for the countryside around north of Felixstowe, but are worried that too much farmland – vital for producing food with the population increasing – will be lost forever.

Town and district councillor Kimberley Williams said recent approvals for 390 homes on sites in Ferry Road, Old Felixstowe, and Walton Green South, Walton High Street, would destroy agricultural land described by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as “the very best quality”.

She said: “The UK is already the largest importer of food and drink in the EU as it only produces 59% of its own food and 90% of fruit eaten in the UK is imported from abroad.

“East Anglia is the bread basket of Britain, one of the few places where the soil quality is nutritious enough to grow wheat.

“So by agreeing to destroy land which is supposed to be protected from development by its own planning policy, it appears Suffolk council has finally lost the plot. The countryside is irreplaceable.”

Ms Williams said housing was being pushed through on the grounds that it is “sustainable” development, permitted under the coalition Government’s National Planning Policy Framework, and much needed housing for a growing population.

She said: “The reality is that the 2011 census reveals that Felixstowe has a falling population, and house prices, which are indicative of supply and demand, are amongst the lowest in the Suffolk Coastal district.”

She claimed the real incentive for councils nationwide to agree development applications was to receive the Government new homes “bonus” given to councils for each house built by developers.

She said: “This equates to roughly £9,000 for each house built in Felixstowe.

“Meanwhile, Conservative Chancellor George Osborne has announced that if a developer applies to build houses and is refused, but the planning application is subsequently approved by an inspector on appeal, then the new homes bonus is lost.

“Suffolk Coastal is incentivised to permit housing development even where it is contrary to its own planning policy, because it will receive circa £4 million ‘bonus’ for sacrificing our precious agricultural land. How much of this will be spent in Felixstowe?”

Planning officers at Suffolk Coastal say that every application for housing is looked at on its merits and assessed according to policies in the district’s new Core Strategy.

However, the district has to provide 7,900 new homes by 2027 and it is inevitable greenfield sites will be used. The council should also have an identified five-year supply of housing land and at present has only three-and-a-half years’ supply.

Of these, 2,320 would be build on the eastern Ipswich fringe, 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.

17 comments

  • When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. ~ Cree Prophecy ~

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    Shona

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • Mr Reville has forgotten to mention that several years ago his Company identified enough brownfield land in Felixstowe to satisfy the town's needs for many years to come. It is also insulting to state that people who disagree with his views do not care about the future of Felixstowe. We live here and our views are not determined by whoever is currently paying our fees.

    Report this comment

    Grumpy Git

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • As said below we are a very small island, and we are losing much needed wildlife and farming areas, once its gone it's gone forever. I wish for once that money was not the motivation for the decisions made in this country, quality of life and care for our planet should come before profit and if that was so then our borders would not be open to bring in cheap labor for big business and which results in these problems of overcrowding and loss of prime land.

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    Shona

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • So Mr Revill, I would like to ask you when you think that there will be enough housing in Felixstowe, will it be when the 1,760 houses have been built, will that be enough, what about in ten years or twenty years time, will there be more needed? I have watched Felixstowe grow in the way of housing for the last forty years and it has grown considerably, will you be happy when there are no green fields left and there is only concrete and bricks from Felixstowe to Ipswich, will that make you a happy man!!

    Report this comment

    Shona

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • And another thing, Mr Revill - The Local Plan, which an Inspector decid3d was sound, concluded that Felixstowe needed at least 1,760 houses over the next 15 years because the population was expanding due to inwards migration. The truth is that the population is going down and you still say that these houses are needed. At the Planning Inquiry you supported housebuilding on the grounds of growth. You now say they are needed because of decline. Something doesn't make sense. Building all these houses makes even less sense because (a) there are hundreds of empty houses in the town and (b) Felixstowe has the cheapest housing in the District.

    Report this comment

    Grumpy Git

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • Yhyhyhyhyhy yhyhyhyhyhy Toure, is that you?

    Report this comment

    Liam Dodd

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • At least "Mr Revill" does not hide behind a pseudonym. I actually spend my time making plans for communities - sometimes on behalf of developers, sometimes on behalf of councils. A few years back I did one for the Felixstowe Peninsula on behalf of SCDC and the Tow and Parish Councils. This revealed a population in decline because the average number of people in each household was going down and because no new homes were being built. And this was leading to the closure of services (healthcare) and the merger of schools, etc. Population decline is a consequence of resisting new housing. Anyone who reall cares about he town wold want new jobs and new people and new blood and, yes, new homes. Otherwise you just accept decline and decrepitude as a result of the fear of change.

    Report this comment

    Lawrence Revill

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • A very good point from Mr Revill, however, Ms Williams has no alternative sites for the homes, why, when in opposition you never have to make that decision. Felixstowe needs new homes, the other line of defence is the population is declining, how can it increase if you do not construct new homes.When homes become availible they are filled by people already living in the town.

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    True blue

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • Greenfield land is always the cheap option for the developer so until they are forced to look at brownfield sites and swallow the higher clean up costs that follow, farmland will be a prime target. Developers have no concern whatsoever for the long term environmental and social costs of what they do, all that counts is short term profit. Of course, having previously lived in London, it is funny how the most difficult industrial sites there could be turned into housing - it's all about what's avaiilable to turn that profit......Needs a government with backbone to deal with this, so no chance at the moment.

    Report this comment

    paul

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • With all these immigrants coming to this country who are used to having large families ain't it time the government thought about doing what china has done , two children and that's it ,, After all we are only a small island compared to china , and we are already beginning to sink ?

    Report this comment

    MIGUEL100

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • At least "Mr Revill" does not hide behind a pseudonym. I actually spend my time making plans for communities - sometimes on behalf of developers, sometimes on behalf of councils. A few years back I did one for the Felixstowe Peninsula on behalf of SCDC and the Tow and Parish Councils. This revealed a population in decline because the average number of people in each household was going down and because no new homes were being built. And this was leading to the closure of services (healthcare) and the merger of schools, etc. Population decline is a consequence of resisting new housing. Anyone who reall cares about he town wold want new jobs and new people and new blood and, yes, new homes. Otherwise you just accept decline and decrepitude as a result of the fear of change.

    Report this comment

    Lawrence Revill

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • Very interesting that those opposed to new homes on the fields near where they live become ready evangelists for wading birds or onion growers as part of their resistance. Just where are the people needing homes locally in Felixstowe and other towns supposed to go? Without them these towns will continue to decline but those left will have preserve their views and dog walks. Interesting priorities!

    Report this comment

    Lawrence Revill

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • All the family homes are taken up by retired baby boomers. They were lucky enough to live in a time of affordable housing and final salary pensions... Felixstowe needs new homes unless you have a better solution than those provided, then this is where they will have to be built.

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    Mr Bobbin

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • Justification for new housing in Felixstowe should be based on actual need and realistic employment opportunities. How crazy to concentrate all this housing at the end of a peninsular with just one road in and out. Chaos today after a multiple pile up on the A14 ! Full time Firemen being withdrawn from Felixstowe Fire Station !. Ambulances taking c30 mins to get from Ipswich to Felixstowe ! Felixstowe residents praying that they never need the Emergency Services ! The only people who want the housing dumped down here are the Planners and Councillors from SCDC and the Property Speculators, who see a crock of gold at the end of the peninsular. Just look at the state of the Spa Pavilion boarded up. the Spa Gardens fenced off and the Beach with more rocks than Gibraltar. The only remaining asset up for grabs now is our lovely countryside. Now tell me who cares about Felixstowe ?

    Report this comment

    felixstoweblue

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • Would it be too much to ask Ms Williams where in Felixstowe and the Trimleys should the 1760 homes be built, without using greenfield land?

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    True blue

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • Agreed Miguel100. The tiny island of Britain is full. Close the doors. If we need a few score Japanese nuclear physicists to help build the next generation of power stations, fine but no need for 200,000 economic migrants per annum (according to Govt records last week) to do the very same jobs native Brits could do. No need for more agricultural land to be concreted.

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    Steve Blake

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • Lawrence Revill has forgotten to mention that he works for David Lock & Associates, a firm of consultants who make their money by advising developers and landowners. Perhaps Mr Revill would like to respond to the points raised by Councillor Williams. Why does Felixstowe need houses when there is no demand and the population is going down?

    Report this comment

    Grumpy Git

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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