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2,000-home ‘garden suburb’ could be started within two years

PUBLISHED: 17:37 03 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:37 03 October 2020

2,000 homes are set to be built in the Gulpher Road area at Felixstowe Picture: ALEX FAIRFULL

2,000 homes are set to be built in the Gulpher Road area at Felixstowe Picture: ALEX FAIRFULL

Archant

A start could be made on a new 2,000-home ‘garden neighbourhood’ on the edge of a Suffolk town in two years – even though full plans have not yet been agreed.

Exhibition showing plans for 560 homes, shops, care and community facilities to be built as paft of the 'garden neighbourhood' on countryside in Gulpher Road on the edge of Felixstowe Picture: GREGG BROWNExhibition showing plans for 560 homes, shops, care and community facilities to be built as paft of the 'garden neighbourhood' on countryside in Gulpher Road on the edge of Felixstowe Picture: GREGG BROWN

Community leaders were told the first phase of the project at Felixstowe could be completed by 2024.

As well as 2,000 homes, the ‘garden neighbourhood’ will include a new £20million sports complex, community hub and 630-place primary school off Candlet and Gulpher Roads.

The land – mostly farmland but including an equestrian area, businesses and former golf driving range – stretches from the Eastward Ho outodoor sports site and Grove woodland to the dock spur roundabout and is currently in several ownerships.

East Suffolk Council is keen to draw them together to agree release of the land in phases for a co-ordinated project. This work is still taking place.

Along with 1,600 other new homes being built, it will mean a 30% increase in the resort’s population.

In a presentation on the future vision for the seaside town, Felixstowe Town Council was told the project will be aligned with job creation plans in the town and would allow people to live nearer to work and reduce commutes. Slides shown at the meeting said the project was earmarked to start in 2022 with the first phase completed by 2024.

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Neil Cockshaw, programmes and partnerships manager at East Suffolk Council, said there was a huge amount of work still to do on the massive project.

He said: “It is really important to understand there are a lot of challenges with the North Felixstowe Garden Neighbourhood (NFGN), a lot of obstacles to overcome.

“There are multiple landowners, there are issues about types of land that people would want to build on, there is a need to get the balance right – the leisure centre, connectivity, schooling, the links to the town centre, the need for some sort of country park initiative to preserve the green spaces there as well.

“We want to make Felixstowe an attractive place for people to come and work and this is a great opportunity.”

Councillor Mike Deacon though said many residents of Felixstowe were not as enthusiastic about the NFGN, with 2,000 homes set to destroy a large area of the town’s precious and beautiful countryside. He questioned where the new residents would work.

Mr Cockshaw stressed that the project – which is part of the local plan to 2036 – was at an “early stage”.

He said: “There is an aspiration that there could be 2,000 homes there over a significant time period – these are not all coming at once by any means. We are one of four landowners in the area, so parts will be brought forward at different times. I think some people may work in Felixstowe and some work in Ipswich and travel backwards and forwards. We don’t have detailed studies on how that is going to work out yet but we are looking at it.”

The first phase is likely to be built by developers Persimmon Homes, who currently have detailed plans for 262 homes on part of the land before the council. Persimmon’s scheme also includes the site for a school, open space and rights of way, care home, sites for small business units, community centre/retail and the first phase of a larger residential element.


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