Suffolk Coastal: Homes inquiry facing delay

CAMPAIGNERS are today still waiting to hear when an inquiry will start into proposals to build thousands of new homes – after planners were told to justify the figures.

The issue has now been further complicated because Suffolk Coastal planning officers have decided at the last minute to increase the number of properties to be built over the next 15 years.

The examination in public into the district’s new Local Development Framework (LDF) – the blueprint for the future development of the area – is due to start in October, but is now facing the possibility of being delayed while more evidence is examined.

Inspector Mike Moore asked the council to explain why it was proposing 7,590 new homes are built before the inquiry starts.

He also wanted details of green space near the proposed 2,000-home Adastral Park “new town” scheme.

“Once I have received and considered the additional evidence I will review whether the examination can proceed and therefore whether arrangements for the hearings can be put in train by the programme officer,” said Mr Moore.

The council’s head of planning Philip Ridley has now submitted a lengthy paper to the inspector detailing how the authority arrived at the projected number of new homes needed up to 2027 – and has also now increased the number of homes to 7,900.

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The document says the council was originally told as part of regional plans that 10,200 new homes would be needed, and consultants later said 11,000 was more realistic.

The current council proposals for 7,900 are based on the land supply available, and also include outstanding planning permissions and unexpected “windfall” projects.

Of the new homes, 1,760 will be built in Felixstowe and the Trimley villages, and 2,320 on the eastern edge of Ipswich. Some 1,826 of the 7,900 will be affordable homes.

Ian Cowan, of campaign group Save Trimley Against Growth (STAG), said objectors should now be given the same time as the council had to prepare its extra evidence on housing need in order to examine the report and prepare their own documents to comment on the extra information. The inquiry should be delayed until this could be done. He did not believe the figures had been justified.

“The LDF process is coming to a sad and undignified climax,” said Mr Cowan.

“Evidence has been requested, assurances have been given that this evidence could be produced, but in our opinion the evidence has failed to materialise.”

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