New town coming to Suffolk

AS many as 3,000 new homes could change the face of an historic Suffolk community forever and quadruple its size, it was revealed today.Plans drawn up for the future of the twin Trimley villages envisage using up virtually every spare piece of open land.

AS many as 3,000 new homes could change the face of an historic Suffolk community forever and quadruple its size, it was revealed today.

Plans drawn up for the future of the twin Trimley villages envisage using up virtually every spare piece of open land.

That's half as large again as the current Grange Farm development at Kesgrave – and the same size as that estate is expected to be when completed.

It would also dwarf the Ravenswood development on the site of the former Ipswich airport and could push the population of the two villages up from almost 4,000 to 16,000.

Fields which currently separate the two Trimley villages would vanish and the area from the edge of Felixstowe bounded by the railway line and A14 will all be filled in with new properties.

Details of the ambitious 165-acre project, which also includes a new school, employment area, village greens and a small local park, were unveiled today.

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It would include both houses and flats as planners try to increase the density of housing.

The moves come as deputy prime minister John Prescott announced the need for hundreds of thousands of new homes to be built across the region.

But if given the go-ahead, the "vision" would totally transform Trimley St Mary and Trimley St Martin, turning what is already a village larger than some Suffolk Coastal towns into one of the district's biggest communities.

Even if the planners approve the scheme – which landowners Trinity College hope will be incorporated into the new local plan – it will not be built at once.

It would be built over the next 15 to 20 years, gradually phased in as need arose.

The wealthy Cambridge university, one of the biggest landowners in the area, has also drawn up plans for Walton, Felixstowe – envisaging hundreds of homes on land off Walton High Road.

Tim Collins, a partner at Bidwells, which is promoting the plans on behalf of the college, stressed that the project was long term – and there would be many hurdles to cross before all or part of it became accepted.

"This is a vision for the future of the villages. We believe it is necessary to look 20 years ahead to see what might be created and to have a sustainable and quality plan for an area," he said.

"When you look back at how the Felixstowe area has changed in the past 30 years, a lot of what has been developed would not have been imagined then.

"We want full consultation with the public on this but we feel it is right to float the ideas."

Today community leaders said they were not rushing into judgement on the project – even though it clashes with what they want for the village.

Nigel Smith, chairman of Trimley St Martin Parish Council, said: "At the end of the day the council wants to reflect what the people of the village want and we will wait to hear their views before making a decision.

"A development of this size would obviously have a major impact on the village. There would undoubtedly be some benefits but disadvantages, too.

"It is also a long way off, although when you see a plan like this and something is going to happen near your home the future seems a lot closer."

Trimley St Mary Parish Council chairman Richard Kerry said: "We must gauge the public's feeling on this before we discuss it.

"I think Trinity College are flying a kite with a lot of this plan – they don't even own all the land involved. But a lot of people in the village say we have lost our foreshore because of the college and what have they given us in return?"

The plans are to be submitted to Suffolk Coastal council for potential inclusion in the new local plan.

But it could be that a compromise will be the final solution, with only some of the land identified used for housing and other projects.

The Trimley villages have both drawn up their own plans for their communities and both have similar feelings about the way forward.

They are not opposed to a small amount of building, as long as new affordable new homes and accommodation for the elderly is provided. Trimley St Mary feels there is also some scope for creation of a "village centre" in the area of Great Street Farm in High Road.

But their main priority is to ensure that the villages retain their separate identities – which the Trinity College plan would not do – and remain separate from Felixstowe.

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