Ballots could delay homes debate

ELECTIONS could influence when key decisions are made next year on how many new homes will be built in the Felixstowe area.Council officials say the public will be asked for views early next year with six options showing where 10,200 new homes could be built in the Suffolk Coastal area.

ELECTIONS could influence when key decisions are made next year on how many new homes will be built in the Felixstowe area.

Council officials say the public will be asked for views early next year with six options showing where 10,200 new homes could be built in the Suffolk Coastal area.

Councillors have already made it known they would prefer 3,400 new homes to be sited in the Felixstowe area - most on fields in the historic twin Trimley villages.

But villagers say they have already given up too much for the growth of Felixstowe and its port, with hundreds of metres of the community's foreshore now under concrete quays and fields already lost to more than 1,000 homes.

There is concern now over when decisions will be taken and if the timing of the Suffolk Coastal elections will make those decisions sooner or later.

Trimley St Mary Parish Council is hoping more delays will help to mobilise its opposition and put its case for why the homes should not be built in the village.

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Parish councillor Carl Storer said: “Our next stage should be to put together a policy document which sets out exactly how we feel about the future of the village so we all know where we stand and so do the residents.

“This will help us to focus on those things we want to protect and the type of future development we might need.

“We also need to start thinking very carefully about our response to the consultation.

“We know the options which will be offered and we need to put together a proper response to this so we are ready when it takes place.”

Parish council chairman Richard Kerry said there needed to be proper justification for why the Felixstowe area needed to expand with more housing.

He said: “The people of Felixstowe should not forget what this village has given up already for the expansion of the port.

“I am not knocking port expansion because it is vital to this area but we have given a long stretch of foreshore and a lot of land for homes over the years.”

District councillor Sherrie Green stressed the need for the villages to develop “parish plans” to give them more say over their futures.

Consultation on the options is set to take place in January/February, followed by consultation on preferred options in September/October.

Plans will then be submitted to the government in early 2008, with a public inquiry in summer 2008.

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www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

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