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Government ‘calls in’ decision on huge new Felixstowe estate

PUBLISHED: 16:00 27 April 2017

Farmland in the Gulpher Road area of Felixstowe could be concreted over to make way for hundreds of new homes

Farmland in the Gulpher Road area of Felixstowe could be concreted over to make way for hundreds of new homes

Archant

Proposals for a 560-plus home development in countryside on the edge of Felixstowe have been delayed by the general election.

Christchurch Land and Estates' proposed development of 560 homes, community centre, extra care/assisted living facility, play areas, village green, shops and employment centre off Gulpher Road, FelixstoweChristchurch Land and Estates' proposed development of 560 homes, community centre, extra care/assisted living facility, play areas, village green, shops and employment centre off Gulpher Road, Felixstowe

It is seven months since a planning inquiry was held into the project to build on 77 acres of farmland and grazing meadows off Gulpher Road and Candlet Road.

The secretary of state for communities and local government Sajid Javid “called in” inspector Clive Hughes inquiry report and said he would make the decision as it was such an important case for the future of the resort and the issues involved, but now cannot make a decision because of Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to go to the polls.

In a letter, the Department for Communities and Local Government said “by convention, the secretary of state does not issue planning decisions in the run-up to elections.

“There will also inevitably be some delay whilst a new Government is formed.

The Government has 'called in' the appeal over refusal of 560 homes on the Gulpher Road area of FelixstoweThe Government has 'called in' the appeal over refusal of 560 homes on the Gulpher Road area of Felixstowe

“Therefore, in the exercise of the power conferred on him, the secretary of state hereby gives notice that he has varied the timetable previously set and he will now issue his decision on or before July 6.”

It had previously been Mr Javid’s intention to announce a decision on June 8 – which is now election day.

The delay has been frustrating for campaigners, community leaders and planning officers who have fighting to stop the project, which Suffolk Coastal says would “breach the strong physical ‘barrier’” of the town’s edge.

The authority said the development was an “illogical extension of the town”, was not sustainable, and would mean the loss of versatile agricultural land.

The scheme includes 560 homes – 186 affordable – plus a community centre, convenience store, 10 acres of open space and play areas, a 60-bed care home, 50 assisted living units and business premises.

While the council says it has already identified sites for enough homes for the resort for the next decade, developers Christchurch Land and Estates dispute this. The company says the benefits would include job creation in the construction industry; increased consumer spending from the new households; significant affordable housing; provision of high-quality homes; and would help meet the district’s housing supply targets.


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