Worrying time for our countryside

READING between the lines, there are genuine reasons why we should all be worried for the future of the countryside on Felixstowe’s doorstep.

Over the past few years campaigners have successfully persuaded councillors to cut the proposed number of homes for the resort by around one-third.

With a change of government, there was the promise that communities will decide how many homes they want instead of having huge amounts of housing foisted upon them – with the regional strategies abolished.

This brought some hope that the figures already-agreed might fall even further, and Suffolk Coastal is actually offering to cut the numbers.

It is suggesting around 1,200 fewer homes should be built in the district over the next 20 years.

But what we don’t know is where those cuts will be made.

As yet there is no detail to show if Felixstowe’s allocation (currently 1,400 homes) will fall – or whether it might increase if others are demanding large drops in their housing numbers.

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In Felixstowe, we are already expecting plans to be officially unveiled soon for a 60,000 sq ft Tesco store along with 250 houses, including sheltered homes for the elderly, plus a 60-bed hotel, pub, private medical centre, three small shops and three small business units on a 30-acre site in Walton High Road.

Across the road, where the new entrance for the academy will be, there could be many more homes to come.

The big fear is that the development will not stop there.

No-one should be complacent.

With little brownfield land in the area, that leaves various fields in and around the Trimley villages, and the precious countryside on the northern edge of Felixstowe, between Gulpher Road and Old Felixstowe, very much at risk.

Whether those fields and lanes will still be there for walkers, horse riders, runners and others to enjoy in 20 years is anyone’s guess.