Campaigners vow to battle on

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop fields on the edge of Felixstowe being torn up and used for 1,700 new homes today labelled the proposals as “unbelievable” and not needed.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop fields on the edge of Felixstowe being torn up and used for 1,700 new homes today labelled the proposals as “unbelievable” and not needed.

The Save Felixstowe Countryside group pledged to keep on battling - and to take its protests to a public inquiry inspector.

The group also hopes that when Suffolk Coastal council is abolished next year, the new unitary authority for the area will scrap the building plans and look at the issue again.

Ken Ferriss of the campaign group said: “It is unbelievable that the planning officers are suggesting what is the most beautiful area of Felixstowe should be destroyed to make way for housing.


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“It is the least sustainable site, there is no access, it will have enormous environmental impact and is the opposite of what planning policy says should happen.

“We do not believe these houses are needed and still remain to be convinced.”

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Suffolk Coastal's head of planning services Philip Ridley is suggesting countryside north of the Walton by-pass Candlet Road, and sites either side of the High Road between Walton and Trimley St Mary, should be built on.

The recommendations will be discussed by councillors at a special meeting at the Hotel Elizabeth Orwell in Felixstowe on August 4.

If councillors agree Mr Ridley's recommendation, the strategy will go to cabinet on October 22 and then to further public consultation.

Mr Ridley said: “This will be housing for Felixstowe people with one-third of it affordable homes in the true sense of the word.

“We expect 70 per cent of these homes to be for existing people in the town who want to live in the town in the future and not move away to find homes - it's not housing for people moving here from outside the district.”

Along with regeneration proposals for the town centre and seafront, the development could really put the resort on the up.

He said: “I believe there could be huge benefits and my top tip is that Felixstowe will become a boom town over the next few years with everything that is set to take place.”

Should homes be built in the countryside at Felixstowe? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: Why Felixstowe needs more homes

More than half its young people move away from the area and its population has an imbalance with more people of retirement age and fewer of working age than normal.

Housing is in short supply - especially for families, with more single-person households due to divorce, older people left alone, and people choosing to live on their own.

The town needs around 1,500 homes just to keep its same population - providing homes for current residents' children as they grow up.

A decline in population will mean loss of shops and facilities, and a decline in the leisure and tourism industry, closure of a school, fewer job opportunities.

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LAND planning officers have identified for housing was earmarked to be protected by their own consultants.

David Lock Associates described the countryside around Gulpher Road on the northern edge of the resort as “high quality” and recommended the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty should be extended to protect it and create a country park for residents.

The consultants carried out a landscape analysis and “concluded that the landscape character is of such quality and merit that consideration should be given to safeguard the area against development in perpetuity”.

Their report said: “To achieve this protection, appropriate policies are required in the Local Development Framework for the peninsula, in addition to which the existing Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB designation could be expanded to incorporate the land to the north of the A14/A154, or, failing this, the land should be given protection through another landscape designation such as 'Country Park' status.”

It said that the A14/A154 provides a clear boundary between town and country and if development crossed this the northern edge of the town would be difficult to define long term.

Suffolk Coastal planning officers say they have worked with Suffolk Wildlife Trust and taking the area for homes would have less impact on wildlife and landscape than other areas considered.

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