New move in homes row

CAMPAIGNERS are today set to formally ask for an area favoured as a site for 1,620 new homes to be officially designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

CAMPAIGNERS are today set to formally ask for an area favoured as a site for 1,620 new homes to be officially designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

If successful, the move would ensure the homes project was scuppered - and the land would remain as open countryside to be farmed and enjoyed by the public forever.

No decisions have yet been made on the site on the northern side of the Candlet Road Walton by-pass at Felixstowe and consultation will end at 9am on Monday .

Town councillors have already chosen it as the “least worst” option for homes, despite other large sites being available within the resort's natural boundaries.

Consultants David Lock Associates - whose report cost public bodies £100,000 - described the countryside around Gulpher Road on the northern edge of the resort as “high quality” and recommended the AONB should be extended to protect it and create a country park for residents.

The Save Our Felixstowe Countryside group has accused Suffolk Coastal of ignoring the advice - and is now to ask the council formally for its support to extend the AONB.

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A spokesman for the group said: “We will be formally asking the council to support an application for the designation of the countryside north of Felixstowe as AONB and then we will take a case to the government.

“This is precious land - the only countryside Felixstowe has - and it must not be lost”

Members of the David Lock team carried out a landscape analysis and “concluded that the landscape character is of such quality and merit that consideration should be given to safeguard the area against development in perpetuity”.

“To achieve this protection, appropriate policies are required in the Local Development Framework for the peninsula, in addition to which the existing Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB designation could be expanded to incorporate the land to the north of the A14/A154, or, failing this, the land should be given protection through another landscape designation such as 'Country Park' status,” said the consultants' report.

“This should be balanced by a need to encourage greater public access to this land, the existing AONB and any other adjoining open space for the benefit of the local communities and as an additional attraction for visitors and tourists.

“The A14/A154 provides a clear boundary between town and country.

“If development crosses this boundary the lack of other robust physical boundaries means that the northern town edge will be difficult to define long term.”

Suffolk Coastal said at this stage residents were being asked for their views on areas where homes would be acceptable. People would be able to give these on-line until 9am Monday.

Where should 1,620 new homes be built at Felixstowe? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk