Leaders urged to listen over new homes

COMMUNITY leaders are being urged to listen to residents' concerns - and put a stop to changes which could pave the way for thousands of new homes to be built in their villages.

COMMUNITY leaders are being urged to listen to residents' concerns - and put a stop to changes which could pave the way for thousands of new homes to be built in their villages.

People in Trimley St Martin and Trimley St Mary are worried because planners want to change the status of the twin villages from “key service centre” to “major centre”.

While key service centre would allow “some minor expansion, groups of houses and infilling”, a change to major centre would permit large-scale development of the kind neighbouring Felixstowe needs for the future.

On Monday Suffolk Coastal's Local Development Framework (LDF) task group will meet to decide the new status of communities. The Trimleys are the only two of 115 parishes to have had a change suggested.

Trimley St Martin Parish Council has deep-seated concerns over how residents' views will be presented and says it is time for councillors to show they listen to and act upon communities' wishes.

A council spokesman said: “Trimley St Martin has been, and should remain rural in character and should not be allowed to become a tool for the urban growth aspirations of Felixstowe.

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“At the meeting it is expected that the LDF task group will be steered towards a new 'super service centre' category to be applied to Trimley St Martin in a bid to show the Trimley villages as being separate from 'Greater Felixstowe'.

“If this assignment supports large scale development then this too would be unacceptable to the community.

“This is not Trimley St Martin becoming NIMBYs - on the contrary, we have supported and been directly impacted by much development over the last four decades.

“It is, however, essential that Trimley St Martin be properly characterised and protected from large scale development in order to maintain its rural character and enhance its status as a countryside amenity for the surrounding area.”

The council wants to ensure villagers' views are considered separately to those of Felixstowe, which is in favour of development following consultants' views that around 2,300 homes are needed.

In a report to the task group, planning officers said it was recognised the Trimleys were individual settlements with their own identities but the status change reflected their close links with Felixstowe and should be considered as an option for the growth of the whole area on which they depend for jobs, shopping and leisure.

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

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