Concerns over multi-million pound scheme

MULTI-million pound proposals for 2,000 new homes and an innovation park at Martlesham Heath were today branded as “massively premature” by conservationists.

MULTI-million pound proposals for 2,000 new homes and an innovation park at Martlesham Heath were today branded as “massively premature” by conservationists.

Campaign group the Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS) says the BT project, which includes employment space, a hotel, park, school and energy centre, and could create 1,000 jobs, should be taken no further.

It wants the proposal to redevelop the Adastral Park and neighbouring greenfield land rejected until a long-term strategic plan for the future of the area is drawn up.

Society director Richard Ward said the lodging of plans with Suffolk Coastal before the 15-year plan for the district is complete is causing considerable concern to residents.

“This proposal is massively premature and simply cannot proceed as it stands,” said Mr Ward.

“It represents a vast development and is understandably causing concern among the local community.

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“The total package is on a massive scale and would have a huge impact on the surrounding area - not least through the increase in traffic which it would generate.

“Together with local residents, we are also extremely concerned about the inclusion of greenfield land in this proposal.

“We feel that it is time that the number of new homes needed in our county is decided on a more local level. That way, we can plan properly - while retaining Suffolk's distinctiveness and with the support of its population.”

Suffolk Coastal reassured residents it was not going to make a quick decision on the Martlesham proposals.

Consideration of the project would not take place until the draft Local Development Framework (LDF) is complete and there will still be a public inquiry, with no result until 2010. There will also be lengthy consultation.

“Any proposed residential development submitted as part of an application must be linked with this council's vision of the future of our district,” said deputy council chairman Andy Smith.

“To date, we have only got as far as identifying a possible site for housing development in the Martlesham area to the east of the A12, and it will be at least six months before we will be able to confirm what the intended planning policy will be.”

Is the BT site the best place for development? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk