More time to have say over new homes

COMMUNITY leaders today bowed to pressure and announced more time for the public to have their say over where 1,620 new homes should be built in the Felixstowe area.

COMMUNITY leaders today bowed to pressure and announced more time for the public to have their say over where 1,620 new homes should be built in the Felixstowe area.

Consultation was due to have finished on March 28 but has now been extended to April 11.

It will also provide more time for people to have their say on the proposed sites for the east of Ipswich, where land needs to be identified for 1,000 new homes.

Campaigners have severely criticised Suffolk Coastal for only allowing eight weeks for its “blobs on maps” consultation in which people have to identify where housing would be appropriate over the next 15 to 20 years.

The Save Felixstowe Countryside campaign group - fighting plans to use land on the northern edge of the resort across the Walton bypass - said many people its members had spoken to did not know consultation was taking place.

Council deputy leader Andy Smith said: “We have already involved the public and thanks to their contributions we are now at the stage of looking to identify possible broad locations for housing growth.

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“At this stage we want to hear people's ideas on where, in broad terms, those areas it would be appropriate for those homes to go. I would emphasise that the priority will continue to be to redevelop brownfield sites where possible before greenfield ones.

“There has already been a great deal of debate on this subject, some well-informed, some less so, but to give people more time to find out the facts and give us their opinions, we are now extending the deadline until April 11, although I must stress that there will still be other opportunities for people to have their say.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Ninnmey applauded the council's decision.

He said: “I am pleased to see there has been an extension granted - this is a very big subject and we need to give the public as much chance as possible to contribute to the debate.

Consultants have told Suffolk Coastal most of the new homes will be needed to cater for the existing population - with people living longer, more family break-ups and people choosing to live alone creating a demand, plus homes for children of existing residents.

Government advice is the best place is to put new homes is close to where there is already jobs, schools, shops, roads and other infrastructure, or to build standalone developments big enough to support new facilities.

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