Rural homes bid draws criticism
PLEASE don't destroy our beautiful countryside!That was the heartfelt plea today from campaigners who claim Suffolk Coastal is preparing to ignore their own consultants' advice - and build 1,620 new homes on Felixstowe's peaceful rural edge.
PLEASE don't destroy our beautiful countryside!
That was the heartfelt plea today from campaigners who claim Suffolk Coastal is preparing to ignore their own consultants' advice - and build 1,620 new homes on Felixstowe's peaceful rural edge.
David Lock Associates - paid £100,000 of public money for their masterplan for the area - said the farms and fields from Gulpher to Old Felixstowe overlooking the River Deben should be kept free from housing.
The expert town planners went event further and said the area should be protected for future generations and advised the council to ask for it to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
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David Lock's experts showed how 1,600 homes could be built without using the land the other side of the A14 or substantial building in the twin Trimleys, and even pinpointed other suitable sites.
But Suffolk Coastal has binned the report and put forward the grade one and two farmland as a possible site for housing.
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Residents of the area are furious and say it would be the thin end of the wedge, setting a precedent for taking more fields in future.
They have formed a campaign group called Save Felixstowe Countryside and are calling for the development proposals to be rejected.
Action group member John Johnston said: “This area is Felixstowe's only countryside - enjoyed by countless people from all over the town for walking, cycling, horse riding, fun-runs, bird-watching.
“There is an abundance of wildlife here such as breeding bitterns, brown hares, otters, marsh harriers, greater and lesser spotted woodpeckers, cuckoos and kingfishers to name but a few.
“The countryside next to the A14, Candlet Road and Grove Road, and the whole Gulpher area provides a natural open barrier which protects the AONB and RAMSAR sites (areas of wetlands of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention).
“We should not build a hard edge up to these sites but give them room to breath.
“Any incursion into north Felixstowe is likely to require improved access to the A14 and once that is in place, the whole area will come under intense pressure for development and be eroded away bit by bit until it is gone forever.”
Campaigner Ken Ferriss said: “The council should be looking at land between existing developments where there has already been development.
“We want to know why policies which protect Melton and Woodbridge cannot be put in place here.”
Andy Smith, deputy leader of Suffolk Coastal council, said the authority was currently looking at “possible broad locations for housing growth” and would decide on the specific sites later in the year after analysing the results of the public consultation.
Where should homes be built in the Felixstowe area? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk