Anger over plans to develop villages

LANDOWNERS Trinity College have put forward a controversial new masterplan for the twin Trimley villages and Walton, Felixstowe - suggesting 1,900 new homes could be built.

LANDOWNERS Trinity College have put forward a controversial new masterplan for the twin Trimley villages and Walton, Felixstowe - suggesting 1,900 new homes could be built.

The proposals to develop the area over the next 15 to 20 years also include a neighbourhood foodstore in the Trimleys, an enterprise centre for new businesses, new public open spaces and sports facilities, a “super-surgery” health centre, and a combined primary school and community hall.

Potential additional employment sites have also been put forward at Great Street Farm in Trimley St Mary, Fagbury near the port, and Innocence Farm off the A14.

But villagers who have been campaigning against development for five years were today horrified at the proposals - and said they would ruin the villages.

Details of the ideas, which build on two previous proposals the wealthy Cambridge college has put forward for the area, have been submitted to Suffolk Coastal District Council, which is drawing up future plans for the district.

The council, which has received more than 300 proposals from landowners wanting to build, has already said 2,100 homes are likely to be built in the Felixstowe area, though no sites have yet been identified.

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Tim Collins, agent on behalf of Bidwells, said: “The Trimley Estate Masterplan responds to issues identified in research undertaken for the council by David Lock Associates.

“It is a comprehensive package of proposals covering a range of land uses, community infrastructure and environmental improvements representing a long-term vision and commitment from the landowner to the highest standards of sustainability and design.”

The proposals aim to incorporate all the aims of the community as well as addressing many of the concerns voiced over the past five years since development of the villages was first mooted.

Mr Collins said the land chosen for development seeks to ensure Trimley St Martin and St Mary are kept separate, and also to keep a greenbelt between the edge of Walton and Trimley St Mary.

The documents examine the future health needs, recreation requirements, and also education. They take into account the fact both Deben and Orwell high schools are likely to be demolished and a new super-school built at Orwell, which would be close to new housing and the enterprise centre.

The areas suggested for housing are 655 homes on the fields in Walton either side of High Road just before the bridge over the A14. This area would include the enterprise centre for emerging and existing small businesses and new public open space alongside Trimley High Road behind the stables.

Some 1,250 homes could be built off Ray Howlett Way and on fields next to and behind the Trimley Sports and Social Club. The school, supermarket and other shops would be sited off the roundabout next to Reeve Lodge.

FASTFACTS: Trinity College masterplan at a glance

1,900 new homes, plus new primary school, supermarket, “super-surgery” health centre, and enterprise centre

Port-related business site at Fagbury Road just outside the port, and possibly Innocence Farm, alongside A14

Non-port business units at Great Street Farm, Trimley St Mary to diversify economy

New bus service, upgraded pedestrian and cycle links to the port, and environmental improvements on High Road to make it safer and cut traffic speeds, making walking and cycling safer

New footpaths with a walking loop around the peninsula, plus picnic areas, look-out points, new cycle paths and tent campsite

New farmers' shop, and potential new tourist accommodation in redundant farm buildings

VILLAGERS say the prospect of massive estates will have a “hugely devastating impact on the villages and surrounding area”.

Both Trimley St Martin and St Mary would accept modest housing development but say the proposals are too big and the traffic generated - most of it forced to use narrow High Road - would be awful.

A statement issued by the two parish councils said Trinity College had ignored the views and feedback from residents by suggesting so many homes and using so many fields.

“This will have a hugely devastating impact on the village and surrounding countryside and with the inclusion of such facilities as a 'super surgery', new primary school and combined community hall, new parks and sports facilities, it begs the question, just what powers do they think they have to enforce the provision of all these services, most of which are unwarranted and could not be supported?” said the councils.

“The proposals are based on a false assumption that 'there are four broad options for the growth of homes in Felixstowe'.

“This completely ignores the Langer Road area where more housing would be an opportunity for much needed regeneration of the area.

“It also ignores the sites south of Gulpher Road in Old Felixstowe where further development would enable the provision of much better public transport links to support town centre facilities and new housing would feed on to the wide High Road East.”

The councils, which have put forward suggestions for possible development to Suffolk Coastal, remained totally opposed to proposals that would destroy the character of the villages, and felt the Trinity College plan would “turn the village into a concreted urban suburb of Felixstowe”.

A spokesman for campaign group STAG (Save Trimley Against Growth) said: “Once again Trinity College have shown a cynical disregard for the needs and aspirations of the Trimley villagers.

“Green fields will be replaced by housing estates and so called parks.

“The High Road will become clogged with even more vehicles, made worse every time we have Operation Stack.

“Our farm shop, general store and sausage shop will be endangered by a neighbourhood supermarket which we don't need.

“Suffolk Coastal have still to publish their blobs on maps for future housing needs. If these blobs accommodate the Trinity College proposals it remains to be seen whether this will be a cock up, coincidence or conspiracy.”

Derek Swann, of Sandy Close, Trimley St Martin, said: “It's far too many houses. A small amount of houses would be OK as long as they were affordable to the first-time buyers, those who really need homes.”

Michael Mahon, of Old Kirton Road, Trimley St Martin, said: “I am not against some building - there are places in the village where you could put 15 or 20 here or there. But building of this size will just make the village even more of a dormitory where people take no part in village life.”

Rodney Rowe, who owns The Sausage Shop on High Road, Trimley St Martin, said: “As a villager, I would not want that much development. I like the village as it is. As a businessman, it could bring me more trade but at what cost? Extra traffic, loss of our fields?”

Tracey Lack, of High Road, Trimley St Martin, said: “I think we would lose the feel of being a village and it would feel much more like a town.”

Elaine Beirne, of St Martin's Green estate, Trimley St Martin, said: “It would destroy the village. I like the village atmosphere.”

Gladys Offord, of Grimston Lane, Trimley St Martin, said: “I would be very worried about the extra traffic that amount of housing would bring. High Road is just getting worse and worse now.”

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