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An artist's impression of the view of the new Walton Green Tesco at Felixstowe from Walton High Street, showing the cafe and part of the community building - plans are expected later this month or early January.
BY RICHARD CORNWELL, Felixstowe editor
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
PLANNERS say that although proposals for the new Walton Green superstore in Felixstowe are against policy, that does not necessarily mean they will be rejected.
Campaigners are hoping that the use of a greenfield site will go against the project – especially as Suffolk Coastal wants brownfield, previously used land, developed before farmers’ fields.
The Walton Green Partnership – landowners Trinity College, Cambridge, and Tesco – expect to submit their planning application for the 30,000sq ft supermarket and 180 homes, plus a community centre, allotments and business units, by the end of the year.
Documents will be included showing that they have investigated every other possible site, including brownfield land, in Felixstowe and the Trimley villages, but no others were suitable for the project.
A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said the plans for the 30-acre field in Walton High Street do not comply with current planning policies.
“The proposed site is contrary to local and national planning policies but until the relevant evidence to support the application is provided by Tesco it will not be possible for councillors or officers to come to a conclusion about the final merits of the scheme,” said a council spokesman.
It is perfectly possible for councillors to go against policy, particularly if they feel the need for the development is satisfactorily argued.
Another problem facing councillors is that the new Felixstowe area action plan – which will identify land uses for the next 15 years – is still two years away from completion and adoption, and that a government inspector might on appeal feel the land should be developed.
In addition, government is looking to kick-start the economy with development and not to stand in the way of projects, particularly housing.
Biggest concern of opponents of the Walton Green project is the potential impact on the shops in Walton High Street and Felixstowe town centre.