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Protesters demonstrate against proposals for new business park

Scores of protesters wave their placards in demonstration against plans for a new business park near Trimley St Martin Picture: REBECCA ATHERSTONE

Scores of protesters wave their placards in demonstration against plans for a new business park near Trimley St Martin Picture: REBECCA ATHERSTONE

Archant

Scores of demonstrators took to the streets in Felixstowe yesterday to protest a proposal to transform 300 acres of nearby farmland into a business park.

The site, between Trimley St Martin and Kirton, has been earmarked for development by landowners Trinity College, Cambridge.

Suffolk Coastal District Council has said the need for the additional land reflects the huge economic role played by the Port of Felixstowe in the county and nationwide.

However, campaigners argue the development, on land between Innocence Lane and the A14, would destroy the character of the two small villages nearby, bringing a “colossal” amount of traffic and heavy goods vehicles through the area.

The protest was to demonstrate over a meeting at Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club between representatives of the college, councillors and stakeholders.

Passing cars honked their horns in support of the protest Picture: REBECCA ATHERSTONEPassing cars honked their horns in support of the protest Picture: REBECCA ATHERSTONE

Campaigners feared the purpose of the meeting was to “soften up” councillors in advance of a planning application.

Stephen Wrinch, organiser of the demonstration, said: “We were concerned by what we believed to be a slightly manipulative decision on the part of the college.

“What we find difficult to understand is that it is not too difficult to rubbish their evidence base.

“It just doesn’t stack up at all.

“We feel the college are modern day pirates.”

Mr Wrinch added he was heartened by the number of people who turned up to demonstrate, as well as how many residents honked their horns in support as they drove by.

“I was staggered, he said. “With the weather forecasting rain I thought we would only get two or three.

“From all the hooting and honking of cars in support of the protest you can see the Felixstowe community really feel strongly about this. They are not going to take it lying down and will not be bullied.”

The port already has plans for a new logistics centre within its boundaries as well as further expansion at Christmasyard Wood in Trimley. The council has admitted the Innocence Lane site would be “well in excess” of land needed for the district

Last month, a petition against the plans signed by more than

600 people was handed to the college.

A spokesman for the Trimley Estate said: “The meeting was the first stage in a wider community engagement programme, introducing local representatives to the team and understanding wider views on the proposals, which are contained as an allocation within the emerging draft Suffolk Coastal Local Plan.

“This emerging allocation has been informed by the need to support the Port with additional land for third party port related logistics up to 2036.

“A careful balance needs to be achieved to provide the land the Port needs to expand and remain competitive with other ports around the UK, whilst minimising the impacts of development on local residents as much as possible.

“Our technical work over the next few months will seek to show how this could be done and we look forward to sharing it through a public consultation in the Spring.”

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