March 9 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Proposals for 190 new homes on top-quality farmland on the edge of Felixstowe have moved a step closer after developers offered highways and community benefits in a bid to overcome objections.
Landowners Trinity College, Cambridge, have put forward the scheme for a 12.7-acre site known as Walton Green South, next to the new Felixstowe Academy off Walton High Street.
Suffolk Coastal council refused permission for a previous application for the homes – one third of which will be affordable – amid concerns over the extra traffic at the school entrance shared with the estate, the effect on listed Walton Hall, and that the plan was against policy.
Felixstowe Town Council was told the application had been resubmitted with some changes made to move some of the housing away from Walton Hall, and also to increase landscaping to protect the hall.
Anglian Water had also indicated a new pumping station was needed to control flows into the main sewer.
A landscaping bund with acoustic fencing on top would be built around the site to curb the noise from the A14 and rail line.
Talks had also taken place between the town council, Trinity College, their agents Bidwells, and others, and the college was now prepared to build a three-arm roundabout on Walton High Street – overcoming the town council’s main concern last time around – to improve road safety, and also to contribute £147,824 towards sports provision in the town.
Plans committee chairman Andy Smith said: “As far as we are concerned this seems to be what we asked for – we seem to have got what we wanted.”
Councillor Stuart Bird said land needed to be found for the 1,760 homes earmarked for Felixstowe.
He said: “It’s no good burying our heads in the sand and hoping these houses will materialise out of the ether. This site meets all the requirements.”
Councillor Doreen Savage said: “We cannot keep on refusing housing and we have some contentious applications coming up in the months ahead. This site is accessible and the infrastructure is in place.
“Now we have the offer of a roundabout, too, which mitigates some of the arguments from before.”
But councillors Kimberley Williams and Mike Deacon said the project should be refused – it was against policy, and would mean the loss of prime grade two food-producing land, the best and most versatile and which the council should be fighting to preserve.
Mr Deacon said: “It’s still a greenfield site, still good quality agricultural land, and we are going to need land like this in the future.”
Ms Williams warned the committee that offers made by developers were “not set in stone” and there had been several instances where legal agreements had been altered and items like affordable homes later removed.
She said: “We need to use brownfield and infill sites first and then, and only then, look to build on greenfield land.”
The committee agreed to recommend approval for the homes providing the roundabout and sports cash was guaranteed.