WORK is about to start on a blueprint for the future of Felixstowe – but campaigners today claimed the project would be shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

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"Councillors must not just rubber-stamp all these developments before the action plan is in place – they must stick to the retained policies we already have in place and reject them."

Ian Cowan, STAG

Consultation on the “area action plan” for the Felixstowe Peninsula will begin in January with local interested groups asked for their views.

However, it is not due to be completed and adopted – possibly following a public inquiry – for two years.

But campaigners say by that time all the major development the area is likely to have in the next 15 years could already be decided and some under way – with several big schemes currently on the drawing board or about to be submitted for approval or housing, superstores and industry.

Ian Cowan, of campaign group STAG (Save Trimley Against Growth), said: “The action plan is a good idea but will there be anything left for it to decide?

“Councillors must not just rubber-stamp all these developments before the action plan is in place – they must stick to the retained policies we already have in place and reject them.”

Trinity College, Cambridge, is about to submit proposals for 350 homes, a Tesco superstore and business units on greenfield sites, while homes are proposed for Old Felixstowe, and a second superstore in the town centre.

Plans are also being drawn up for port-related uses at Christmas Yard Wood, Trimley St Mary, and Innocents Farm, Kirton.

STAG and Save Felixstowe Countryside still insist there is no need for nearly 1,800 new homes in the Felixstowe area as there are not enough new jobs proposed to support the building of new estates.

“Our research shows the number of jobs expected are not going to materialise, especially in the current economic situation. Suffolk Coastal is relying on the Oxford Economic Study to predict how many homes the area needs and just cherry-picking the parts which supports its forecast,” said Mr Cowan.

The council has to produce the action plan – which will cover Felixstowe, Walton, Bucklesham, Kirton, Falkenham, Trimley St Martin and Trimley St Mary, and parts of Levington, Stratton Hall and Nacton – as part of its Local Development Framework.

“The emphasis will be on ‘action’ through the allocation of land for specific uses, policies for specific settlements, strategies for the development, enhancement or regeneration of specific areas, and the delivery of supporting infrastructure,” said the council.

Planners start seeking views in January, with consultation on preferred options next September and submission to government in April 2014.

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