December 13 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 14, 2013
Proposals for a new 190-home estate at Felixstowe have been thrown out – leaving planning officers contemplating how to defend the rejection at a possible appeal.
Suffolk Coastal councillors refused the scheme because of deep concerns over traffic safety at the junction of the access road to the estate, which will be shared with the new £19.5million Felixstowe Academy in Walton High Street.
The High Road is already busy and councillors fear the junction will be horrendous at peak times with school buses arriving, parents dropping off or collecting children, youngsters arriving on foot, by cycle and car, and people leaving the estate for work.
The housing was put foward by Trinity College, Cambridge, which said one-third of the 190 homes would be affordable housing.
Last month the college, as part of the Walton Green Partnership, was refused consent for 200 homes, a Tesco superstore and business units, on a 30-acre field on the other side of Walton High Street.
The housing project next to the academy was refused by five votes to four by the south area development management committee because of the highway concerns, erosion of the buffer separating Felixstowe from the Trimley villages, and the detrimental effect on grade two-star listed Walton Hall.
Councillor Kimberley Williams said Felixstowe Town Council had “serious concerns” about safety at the junction, and felt a roundabout or traffic lights should be installed.
She said: “I think it could be very fraught there at busy times – an accident waiting to happen.
“I am not against housing but I think housing needs to be the right housing in the right place and I don’t think building on grade two agricultural land needed for food production is the right place.”
Planning officers had recommended approval for the homes and said if there was an appeal from the developers against refusal, the decision would be difficult to justify.
In a report, case officer Liz Beighton said: “Evidence coming forward from appeals and ministerial statements is clear that if councils do not have evidence of deliverability and maintaining a five-year supply (of land), then the presumption should be in favour of development unless there are clear reasons why this should not take place.”
Tim Collins, of Trinity College’s agents Bidwells, said: “The college is concerned about the message this decision sends out about attitudes to development in Felixstowe.
“The officers’ recommendation was incredibly strong and the technical work behind this scheme very robust. We are keen to work in partnership to deliver the new homes Felixstowe needs, but we believe this decision sends out a very negative attitude towards actually bringing these forward.”