Stormy meeting about seafront rages on

CAMPAIGNERS are today plotting their next move in the battle to stop Felixstowe's south seafront development – after town councillors failed to make a decision at a stormy meeting.

By Richard Cornwell

CAMPAIGNERS are today plotting their next move in the battle to stop Felixstowe's south seafront development – after town councillors failed to make a decision at a stormy meeting.

Angry residents packed the event to urge councillors to back them with the message "Please reject this scheme".

They voiced worries over flooding of homes, claimed taxpayers were getting a raw deal for the land, called for a proper park to be created and the Martello Tower restored, and said new homes would overshadow their properties.


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But after nearly four hours of debate and opinions, town councillors felt they still could not make a decision on the £15 million-plus scheme.

The council agreed by seven votes to five, to adjourn the meeting and defer a decision because it did not have all the information it needed.

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Councillors had not had access to a vital flood risk assessment, traffic study, report on the Martello Tower, and no environmental impact assessment – required for all major developments – had been produced.

Solicitor Mike Jones, acting for a number of residents, said the environmental report was essential and should have been ordered as a matter of course.

He said the county highways department had recommended refusal because of the traffic implications, and the giving away of one-third of the site for such a small amount of leisure facilities was not justified.

The concentration of housing would desecrate the 17-acre site and those behind the project should think again.

County councillor David Rowe agreed that too much land was being used for housing, contrary to policy.

"Thirty-six per cent of land can in nobody's stretch of the imagination be considered minor. Minor means 10 to 15pc," he said.

"I would support some development of this land, nobody wants it to stay derelict as it is, but it does need to be lower key and as a result would need less residential units to pay for it."

Resident Peter Mellor said it was a "rotten development" for the taxpayer which would be expensive to maintain and contained too little affordable housing.

Residents accused councillors of having made their minds up in advance and not supporting them. Neither of the ward councillors – Tories Cyril Webb and David Bentinck – offered a view on the scheme during the meeting at Langer Primary School and refused to reject it or defer it when voting on the motions.

Labour councillor Mike Deacon opposed the project and said it was "far too grandiose". He would prefer to see a park with open space for games, skateboard park, restoration of the Martello Tower as an attraction, funded by affordable housing.

He voiced concern over future flooding of the site, citing global warming and predicted sea level rise statistics.

Conservative Mike Goodman though said there was a chronic housing shortage and the need to provide more homes should override concerns about density.

The project – put together by Suffolk Coastal council and Bloor Homes – will feature 209 homes, gardens, play areas, restaurant, car parks, and amphitheatre.

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What do you think the project should feature? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or email EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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