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Trees saved from axe after plans change

PUBLISHED: 14:47 27 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:03 03 March 2010

WOODLAND at Kesgrave has today been saved from the bulldozers after developers agreed not to chop it down to build homes.

But a few trees will still be lost as plans for a road through the site are still going ahead with work expected to start soon.

WOODLAND at Kesgrave has today been saved from the bulldozers after developers agreed not to chop it down to build homes.

But a few trees will still be lost as plans for a road through the site are still going ahead with work expected to start soon.

The good news though is that the majority of the plantation will be saved - while developers Westbury Homes South East are set to build even more houses on land next to it.

Suffolk Coastal council received more than 300 protests after it became clear that the wood was to be axed.

The master plan for the Grange Farm development has always shown that the trees - set as a commercial plantation in the 1940s - would go, but residents who moved into the first phases of the growing development were aghast.

They could not believe the trees would be chopped down to make way for more homes and said it would remove a vital green lung from the estate as well as sweeping away important habitat.

Suffolk Coastal took the residents' concerns to the developers and members of the south area development control sub committee were told yesterday that they had now agreed to remove any development from the wooded area.

Senior planning officer Michelle Coupe said planning permission for the road though had been granted sometime before and work was expected to start soon.

She said the plans for the land off Century Drive had been "radically changed" and many of the council's concerns addressed, including the removal of three-storey homes from the site's boundaries, especially along the open space edge.

There would now be a main feature square, parking areas, surfaced shared roads for pedestrians and cars and the lay-out was more interesting.

However, it was now proposed to build 115 homes - 43 of them two-bed flats - instead of the 95 first proposed.

Kesgrave councillor Veronica Read was appalled that the number of homes had risen 20 per cent when without the woodland it might have been expected to fall. She was also concerned over ownership and maintenance of the wood.

Councillor John Hammond, also representing Kesgrave, was pleased to see the changes to the plan but was still against any three-storey development.

"We didn't need inner city development dumped in the middle of a semi-rural urban situation," he said.

The committee agreed to defer the application to enable officers to negotiate further on a number of aspects and to consult Kesgrave Town Council.

Assistant director of planning and leisure, Bob Chamberlain accepted the committee's concerns but said government advice was now to have new developments of a higher density, lower parking standards and group parking areas, shared surfacing and traffic calming.

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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