Trimley scheme 'frightened' residents

WEALTHY landowners' proposals to treble the size of the twin Trimley villages with 3,000 new homes are frightening residents unnecessarily and unforgivably.

WEALTHY landowners' proposals to treble the size of the twin Trimley villages with 3,000 new homes are frightening residents unnecessarily and unforgivably.

That was the view today from councillors – some of whom are preparing to fight the plans, while others have dismissed them as purely speculative.

But Trinity College, Cambridge, which has already invested a large sum of money in the production of their vision for the villages and Walton, is not looking at the short-term and is prepared for a long battle.

The Evening Star asked all the district and county councillors who represent the Trimleys and Walton, along with the mayor of Felixstowe and the chairman of Kirton Parish Council, for their initial views on the project.

None of the elected representatives was in favour of the vision as it stands, and most thought it was simply too overwhelming.

While Trinity College has put together a comprehensive view of how the area could look in 15 to 20 years if planned like a "new town", councillors feel it is just too much development for the community.

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Especially a community which has already had 1,000 homes built over the past 25 years and is battling to keep its rural character.

Ann Rodwell, town and district councillor for Walton said: "I think Trinity College is frightening residents needlessly – and that is unforgivable.

"Until it becomes a planning application, they should not be holding public meetings and discussing these plans with people. The plans are being given far more credibility than they deserve."

Felixstowe mayor Doreen Savage said: "I think it is very sad that people are being upset by these plans – it is just one company's view of what they would like to see."

Householders fear the very existence of the vision, submitted by Trinity's agents Bidwells to Suffolk Coastal council for consideration as part of the local plan, could affect house prices, and drive people away from the area.

Tim Collins, partner in Bidwells, says it is essential to look at the future now to provide a sustainable plan for expansion of the villages, rather than piecemeal and fragmented projects being built as and when.

"You have to start somewhere and what we have here is a vision. It might end up being built or only part of it. What we want to have a master plan which is of excellence, that over time can be built with continuity and will not be disjointed – a project to enhance the area and protect it, and bring benefits for the people who live there," he said.

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The councillors' views:

Mary Dixon, district councillor for Trimley, said: "I am very aware of the tremendous feeling there is about these plans and people are very unhappy at the scale. The parish council has called for some additional housing, affordable homes, but we are talking of perhaps up to 40 properties."

Don Smith, town and county councillor for Walton, said: "These plans are speculative and should not be given any more credence than any other private proposal – it's kite-flying."

James Bidwell, district councillor for Trimley, said: "I have walked the areas concerned and spoken to many people in the villages and these proposals are too big, too much. I think it's the old game of going for what you won't get in order to get something smaller, but what you really wanted."

Ann Rodwell, town and district councillor for Walton, said: "I think Trinity College is frightening residents needlessly – and that is unforgivable. I could paint a pretty picture and put it up for people to see and it would have no more credence. It is unfair that they stir people up like this. Until it becomes a planning application, they should not be holding public meetings and discussing these plans with people. The plans are being given far more credibility than they deserve."

David Kemp, chairman of Kirton Parish Council, said: "At the moment these plans are something we are watching very carefully but we are concerned at the sheer size of it and the repercussions for transport, education and services, and the knock-on effect it could have for Kirton as the A14 is not a major border."

Doreen Savage, Felixstowe mayor, said: "I think it is very sad that people are being upset by these plans – it is just one company's view of what they would like to see. It's not a definitive plan, it's their vision of the future. Unfortunately, people have taken it that it's going to happen. My view is that it is very likely it won't happen."

Sherrie Green, district councillor for Trimley, said: "I was completely shocked when I saw the plan and we cannot let this happen. Residents are clearly very upset and I believe the majority will be against development of this scale. A scheme of this nature would change the whole area forever."

Mike Deacon, town and district councillor for Walton, and Patricia O'Brien, county councillor for the Trimleys, were not available for comment.

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