Felixstowe: Our countryside won’t be concreted over – pledge

COMMUNITY leaders today said Felixstowe’s much-loved countryside will not be concreted over with thousands of homes.

Instead, homes are likely to be built in Old Felixstowe and Walton, with also more than 700 suggested for the twin Trimley villages.

Planners have analysed a series of sites put forward on the northern edge of the town, but have decided they are too far from the rest of the resort and are not suitable for development.

Unless major and expensive new infrastructure was built – such as schools, medical facilities, shops and a community centre – people would be isolated and “not well related to the existing settlement”.

Other land around the Gulpher Road and Candlet Road area has also been identified as prime agricultural land which should not be lost.

Andy Smith, chairman of the town plans committee and deputy leader of Suffolk Coastal council, said the policy had been changed, homes would not be built and it was time to “lay the ghost to rest”.

“The policy has been changed and we are now looking at organic and evolutionary growth on sites which immediately abut built-up areas. That means ‘next to’,” said Mr Smith.

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“That means we are looking at the land on the left of Candlet Road as you go out of town.

“Those sites are located next to already built-up areas and could be suitable for development, though no plans have been put forward as yet.

“We have listened to what people have said in the consultations.

“The countryside people wanted to keep is not part of the policy – we need to put these ghosts to bed.”

In its draft core strategy, Suffolk Coastal says the area “provides a significant and widely used variety of resources for both formal and informal recreation, which will be preserved, particularly where views exist to and from the Deben Estuary and the Coast and Heaths AONB”.

Consultants David Lock Associates, who drew up a masterplan for the town, described the area – a haven for wildlife popular with walkers, birdwatchers, runners, cyclists and horse riders – north of the Walton bypass as “high quality” and recommended the AONB be extended to protect it and create a country park.

The council is not prepared to go that far or seek an extension to the area of outstanding natural beauty.

Despite the reassurances, Save Felixstowe Countryside is still concerned because it does not believe the 1,760 homes needed in the next 15 years can be accommodated on identified sites.

n Where should new homes be built in the Felixstowe area? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or alternatively you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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