New fight over homes looming

VILLAGERS were today facing the possibility of a fresh fight to stop land in the historic twin Trimley villages and Kirton being taken for housing.

Richard Cornwell

VILLAGERS were today facing the possibility of a fresh fight to stop land in the historic twin Trimley villages and Kirton being taken for housing.

Residents thought they had won their battle to stop their rural communities being swamped by homes.

But now all sites in the area are back in the melting pot after councillors decided to scatter the 1,700 new homes needed for the Felixstowe area across all its communities.

Campaigners fighting to stop fields on the northern edge of the resort being taken for housing won the first stage of their battle after the local development framework task group rejected creating a huge new estate in the countryside.

Kimberley Williams, spokeswoman for Save Felixstowe Countryside, said: “We are not against new homes but we do not believe the fields around Gulpher Road are the right site.

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“The committee's decision will give everyone more time to reflect and look at this and for a proper consultation to now take place.”

Councillors decided the properties should be built on a mixture of sites, “organic and evolutionary” growth as needed.

Mayor Mike Deacon told a seven-hour meeting at the Hotel Elizabeth Orwell the town could not sustain a huge amount of development in an area where there was such a reliance on one employer, the Port of Felixstowe.

“We do need affordable homes for those young people who want to live here and stay in this area but certainly not 1,600 new houses,” he said.

Taking the fields would destroy a rural idyll which had been enjoyed by generations of ramblers, cyclists, horse riders, runners and birdwatchers and councillors had a duty to preserve it for the future.

But task group chairman Andy Smith favoured the large edge of town site.

“There are huge benefits from swallowing hard and looking at the bigger picture,” he said.

“The danger with small amounts here, there and everywhere is that you build ever more remote from existing shops and towns with less chance to get significant sums of money to solve some of the problems and create a new and better place.

“There is a good case for doing the difficult thing in the short term for the long term quality you create.”

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