Go-ahead urged for 255-home first phase of massive new 'garden suburb'

Exhibition showing plans for 560 homes, shops, care and community facilities to be built on countrys

People were able to see the plans for 560 homes, shops, care and community facilities to be built on countryside in Gulpher Road on the edge of Felixstowe at an exhibition - plans for the initial 255 are currently before planners - Credit: GREGG BROWN

Community leaders are being recommended to approve detailed plans for 255 new homes on the edge of Felixstowe - the first phase in a 2,000-home 'garden neighbourhood'.

Persimmon Homes has outline consent for 560 properties plus a 60-bedroom extra care home and 50 assisted living units, two small business units and open space and play areas on the land off Gulpher Road following a decision by a planning inspector.

A primary school and community centre are also included in the long-term plans.

East Suffolk Council is in talks with landowners, including Trinity College, Cambridge, to put together the 353-acre North Felixstowe Garden Neighbourhood (NFGN) with the aim to start building in two years.

The project will create 2,000 homes and a new £20million leisure centre on a site stretching from The Grove woodland to the dock spur roundabout.

Persimmon's plans for the first 255 homes of its project on 38 acres of the site are set to come before the council's planning committee south on January 26.

Planning officers say the estate design is considered an improvement on the previously submitted masterplan - particularly in the siting of open space.

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In a report, case officer Phil Perkin said: "Officers have worked closely with the applicant to ensure a satisfactory layout and consider that the design of the proposal is acceptable and accords with the illustrative masterplan that was approved as part of the outline consent.

"The proposal provides a legible layout around key open spaces that are functional and well overlooked.

"The proposal will offer good pedestrian and cycle connectivity within the site to the wider North Felixstowe Garden Neighbourhood when this comes forward and to the existing public rights of way network. The design and appearance of the dwellings are also considered acceptable.

"In addition to the significant benefit of 85 affordable dwellings the proposal will deliver a mix of house types, sizes and designs as well as open space and landscaping providing a high-quality environment."

Homes will range from one bedroomed flats to five bedroom detached houses.

The main objectors to the plans were Felixstowe Town Council, which “strongly recommends refusal” and cites concerns including worries over existing boundary hedgerows and vegetation, drainage and sewerage arrangements in an area already suffering problems, highways issues, allotment parking, a reduction in affordable housing, inadequate play provision, and disappointing housing design.

Mr Perkin said the town council's concerns were acknowledged but it was considered that the revised layout and conditions could adequately address the worries.

In particular. he said there were two large open space areas in the plans which will be laid out before 30% of the homes are occupied and play areas will feature equipment for toddlers to teens with six items for each age group. Meanwhile, existing hedgerows will be retained wherever possible and there were no plans to alter existing watercourses apart from one culvert.

Persimmon has said: “The reserved matters application can be considered as the first phase of the delivery of the North Felixstowe Garden Neighbourhood. Future phases of the outline consent, can have regard relevant to the masterplan if it has been developed to a stage when it can be given weight.”

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