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More time to consult over housing

PUBLISHED: 17:01 23 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:48 09 March 2010

CONSULTATION on the future of the Suffolk Coastal area has been extended by four days after problems with on-line documents.

Campaigners in Felixstowe complained bitterly about the situation which meant key documents were not available to allow them to work on their objections to development proposals, which include building around 2,000 new homes at the resort.

CONSULTATION on the future of the Suffolk Coastal area has been extended by four days after problems with on-line documents.

Campaigners in Felixstowe complained bitterly about the situation which meant key documents were not available to allow them to work on their objections to development proposals, which include building around 2,000 new homes at the resort.

Suffolk Coastal council chiefs have apologised for the situation and say people will now have until February 20, instead of February 16, to give their views.

Cabinet member Andy Smith said it had been necessary to remove the core strategy document temporarily after an error appeared in the final stages of preparing for transmission for typesetting.

As soon as it was realised there was a mistake in the document, it was removed and an explanatory note put onto the website.

Mr Smith said a series of roadshows would be held in January and people may find it helpful to attend one of these and discuss with officers and councillors the reasoning behind the strategy document before sending in their comments.

The new policies - which cover not just building homes but a range of issues, including employment, tourism and the environment - will form the core of the Local Development Framework (LDF), detailing how the Suffolk Coastal area will develop and be cared for in the next 15 years.

John Johnston, of the Save Felixstowe Countryside group, expressed concern that the consultation was taking place via the internet.

“How do people who don't have internet access 'get engaged' in the current LDF process?” he said.

“I understand paper copies of the LDF, for those who do not have internet access, run to between £15 and £20 and the site specific consultation between £25 and £30.

“One soundbite we keep hearing is about the number of elderly folk in Felixstowe and the 'public engagement' which is desired.

“Elderly folk are the least likely to have internet access and are likely not to be prepared to fork out their hard-earned savings to purchase the necessary paperwork to submit their views. Yet they do not want to see their town destroyed.”

Is the internet the best way for public bodies to consult with people today? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk


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