Relief after homes move rejected

VILLAGERS today breathed a sigh of relief after long-standing proposals to build homes on every field in their communities were rejected.

Richard Cornwell

VILLAGERS today breathed a sigh of relief after long-standing proposals to build homes on every field in their communities were rejected.

Residents of the historic twin villages of Trimley St Mary and St Martin have been fighting for five years against plans put forward by landowners Trinity College, Cambridge, to build 1,500 homes to turn them into a small town.

They claimed it would wreck their rural atmosphere and destroy precious countryside, deprive them of their individual identities, and create horrendous traffic problems in the already busy villages.

Planners now say the idea should be binned. Trinity College, which invested tens of thousands of pounds drawing up its vision for the communities' future, will now have to decide whether to pursue the matter at a public inquiry.

Planners have instead chosen two sites as their “preferred options” for 1,700 new properties - one-third of them affordable homes - which will be built by 2025.

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Councillors will meet on August 4 to discuss the recommendations from Suffolk Coastal's head of planning services Philip Ridley, who is suggesting countryside north of the Walton by-pass Candlet Road at Felixstowe, and sites between Walton and Trimley should be built on.

The Felixstowe site will generate huge protests, but planning officers say Felixstowe has no option except to grow - or face decline.

John Barker, chairman of Trimley St Martin Parish Council, said: “I am glad the Suffolk Coastal planning officers have taken note of the representations made by the parish council on behalf of the residents.

“We have believed all the way along that the village is not suitable for the scale of housing which was being put forward for many reasons, especially the loss of the character of the village and the traffic it would generate. High Road is already congested at times and has narrow pavements.”

Ian Cowan, of protest group STAG (Save Trimley Against Growth) said the group was pleased that the village would be left alone.

“However we are not happy about any proposals for large-scale house building on the Felixstowe peninsula - it is not needed and this land should be kept for food production,” he said.

Mr Ridley said the town needed to “develop or die”.

“We need people to understand that Felixstowe has its own issues and problems and if we don't take a positive steer to sort them out it will find itself very much behind and starting to decline,” he said.

Are the housing sites the best options? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk