New look at housing needs

A STUDY is to be commissioned to try to identify sites for more than 1,700 new homes in the Felixstowe area, it was revealed today.Community leaders have decided the houses should be scattered across the area rather than being built as two huge new estates, leaving virtually all land in the area “up for grabs”.

A STUDY is to be commissioned to try to identify sites for more than 1,700 new homes in the Felixstowe area, it was revealed today.

Community leaders have decided the houses should be scattered across the area rather than being built as two huge new estates, leaving virtually all land in the area “up for grabs”.

Countryside campaigners were appalled when it was suggested the homes should be built on farmland off Gulpher Road, which would ruin an area enjoyed for generations for walking, cycling, running, birdwatching and horse riding, and threaten wildlife habitat.

Instead, councillors agreed the resort should have “organic growth” to meet its desperate housing needs, fields should be protected for food production, and a number of homes sites be found.


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With limited land available in Felixstowe, it has again shifted the focus onto the Trimley villages but also other communities on the peninsula.

In a report to cabinet next Tuesday , planning policy and implementation manager Stephen Brown said: “A study will be commissioned into housing provision at Felixstowe and the Trimleys.

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“This will examine the preferred option of dispersed development and the implications in terms of potential general locations and supporting infrastructure.

“Engagement with the local parish councils and town council will be part of the study as well as an invitation to the general public to offer comments.”

Also being prepared is a document which will look at specific areas and sites - the public will be asked for their views but the council will not at this stage express any preferences.

“This is the one that will allocate specific sites for housing, employment and so on, and contain physical limits boundaries for towns and villages where they are appropriate,” said Mr Brown.

“Many fields, gardens and other sites have been proposed by landowners and agents as part of the earlier consultation processes.

“As the initial stage of consultation on site allocations, a document will be published for consultation at the same time as the draft core strategy. This will list and contain maps of all the sites proposed by those consultees.”

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

Panel:

WHERE could the homes be built?

With the rejection of Plan A - a huge new estate on fields off Gulpher Road, and a smaller one on land in Walton High Road - that's the question which has left planners scratching their skulls.

There is no Plan B.

Unlike Ipswich, Felixstowe does not have brownfield sites - old factories or disused hospital grounds waiting to be torn down and ploughed up for homes. There will be some land available, but it will not be enough.

Deben High School's Langley Avenue playing fields could become redundant if a £40 million new super-school is built and may take 200 or so homes, and there is a possibility the school and its grounds in Garrison Lane may become available.

Fields at the rear of Upperfield Drive and off Ferry Road could be used, though this would be unfortunate, would generate big protests and could scar the adjoining Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There are odd small pockets of land here and there, some large gardens, which at most could add six to a dozen on each.

In Trimley, the owners of the mushroom farm have offered their site - probably able to take 120 homes.

Ultimately, fields either side of High Road would have to be considered, the original Trinity College, Cambridge, “vision” of urbanising the historic twin villages, turning them into a giant suburb and wrecking their remaining rural character.

The Walton High Street land could probably still be used as it is within Felixstowe's existing boundaries and would take 400 homes, but the pressure will still be on to cross the A14 or Candlet Road and take some land from the countryside.

FASTFACTS: Why Felixstowe needs more homes

More than half its young people move away from the area and its population has an imbalance with more people of retirement age and fewer of working age than normal.

Housing is in short supply - especially for families, with more single-person households due to divorce, older people left alone, and people choosing to live on their own.

The town needs around 1,500 homes just to keep its same population - providing homes for current residents' children as they grow up.

A decline in population will mean loss of shops and facilities, and a decline in the leisure and tourism industry, closure of a school, fewer job opportunities.

Expansion of the port will create more jobs and many people would like to live near their work - more than 6,000 workers commute into Felixstowe every day.

New homes would have to be accompanied by extra health and community facilities, possibly shops and a primary school.

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