Two major homes projects are set to be unveiled soon

FELIXSTOWE: Two multi-million-pound homes projects for the resort look set to be unveiled in the next few months – with countryside campaigners fearing more could be on the cards.

Planners are warning today that government changes could leave the area open to speculative development with ministers keen to step up house-building by offering councils millions in incentives to approve schemes.

Councillors are aiming to get new homes limits in place by early next year to try to ensure house-building is sensible and meets the needs of the Suffolk Coastal district.

A report to the council’s cabinet tomorrow night says two major developments for Felixstowe have been subject to “screening requests” which suggest planning applications are imminent.

No details have been released, but they are expected to be:

Proposals for a 60,000 sq ft Tesco store; 250 houses, including sheltered homes for the elderly; 60-bed hotel; pub; private medical centre; three small shops and three small business units on a 30-acre site in Walton High Road.

Hundreds of new homes on another field in Walton High Road, including the entrance for a new �32m academy.

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Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Ninnmey said: “These are just two of what could be a number of applications to come in – I still don’t think the countryside on the northern fringes of the town is safe.”

Suffolk Coastal has been told by government that regional house-building requirements have been abolished.

But the coalition is not against new homes and wants to step up the building rate – even offering cash incentives to authorities which approve developments.

The district could stand to earn tens of millions of pounds towards new facilities and infrastructure in the next 18 years.

Deputy council leader Andy Smith said: “This situation means the council is vulnerable to speculative planning applications for major housing developments and more importantly has not got an approved strategy in place to deliver homes for the people who need them.”

The council needed to decide how many homes would be built in the district – and aimed to reveal the figures, accompanied by an eight-week public consultation, early in 2011.

It was an excellent opportunity to shape the future of the area.

“To not do this potentially places the council with a serious risk that development and change will occur which is both unpopular and damaging to our district which we will have no control or influence over,” he said.

n How many new homes does Felixstowe need? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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