Felixstowe: 200 new homes would be crammed onto edge-of-town site, says mayor

The field in Ferry Road, Felixstowe, seen through one of the windows of the pillbox on the site.

The field in Ferry Road, Felixstowe, seen through one of the windows of the pillbox on the site. - Credit: Archant

Proposals for 200 new homes on farmland have been labelled as an “overdevelopment” of an edge-of-town site.

Town councillors voted by six to two to recommend refusal for the project on the 12-acre site just outside the town boundary and joining an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in Old Felixstowe.

Suffolk Coastal District Council, which says 1,760 new homes are needed in Felixstowe and the Trimleys over the next 15 years, will make the final decision.

Ward councillor Doreen Savage said the application had generated an enormous amount of objections and the site was very sensitive. She said: “In my view, some of the more suitable sites for housing have already been refused and I think that’s a great pity.

“This site is unsuitable – it would be putting an urban development into a semi-rural location and the people who live there would be reliant on car usage.”

Felixstowe mayor Jan Garfield said Optima Land and Property’s bid for 200 homes on the land would be “ridiculously crammed”, and voiced concerns about access to the estate on a sharp bend on a country lane.

Councillor Kimberley Williams said: “This is Grade Two agricultural land which we will need for future food production and we should absolutely exhaust all potential brownfield sites first before we look at any greenfield land.”

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Former mayor Mike Deacon said it would be an “enormous over-development” of buffer land separating Felixstowe from the AONB.

Councillor Stuart Bird said there was an overwhelming need for new homes, recognised by the new Local Plan. Planning committee chairman Andy Smith agreed and said having rejected the possibility five years ago of a huge new development on the edge of the town, councillors had agreed to disperse housing onto smaller sites, such as the land in Ferry Road.

He said new homes were needed to enable youngsters to stay in the town, and also to cater for older people.

He said: “We are all living longer these days and half a generation’s-worth of housing has not become available because of advances in medical science.”