A public consultation has opened on the final draft of Suffolk Coastal District Council’s ‘Local Plan’ for the future of housing and other developments in the region. The plan, which includes proposals to build more than 10,400 new homes in coastal Suffolk by 2036, has been met with opposition in some quarters.
The ambitious Local Plan, which was voted through by Suffolk Coastal District Council early last December, was designed to deliver sustainable new home development in the region over the next two decades, providing “attractive and affordable homes for current and future generations”. The total number of new homes projected in the plan includes projects that are already in development. In addition to the 10,400 new homes, the plan includes proposals for 6,500 new jobs, and infrastructure improvements to roads and rail.
Two of the largest development proposals are for a pair of “garden neighbourhoods” that would include new schools and community facilities. The Felixstowe development would include some 2,000 new homes, while Saxmundham would see 800 new homes built. There is also a controversial proposal to develop a new 67-hectare lorry park on a site at Innocence Farm, between Trimley St Martin and Kirton, to service the growing needs of the Port of Felixstowe.
Tony Fryatt, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s cabinet member for planning, hailed the Local Plan as “an important and ambitious document, which provides a framework for how we see this district developing over the next two decades”. He added: “We believe we have created a plan which encourages a dynamic, growing economy, with developments that bring in much-needed homes and are supported by the correct infrastructure, while protecting our unique local environment.”
Opposition to the plan
However, the plan has also drawn intense opposition in some of the local communities likely to be affected by the future developments. Amongst other concerns about the impact the new housing would have on surrounding areas, Suffolk Coastal councillor Michael Gower has argued that the number of new homes proposed is far too high, stating that it would lead to a “significant inward migration”, particularly of older retirees, and that the unbalanced population growth could harm the local economy.
The proposed lorry park, which would be situated off the A14, has also drawn strong opposition. The Kirton and Trimley Community Action Group (KATCAG) has branded the proposals outlined in the Local Plan as “eco-vandalism”. As quoted in the East Anglian Daily Times, councillor Susan Harvey, who represents Kirton ward, referred to the lorry park as the “elephant in the room”, and said: “We appreciate the need to support the Port of Felixstowe but the impact on our area, should this go ahead, should not be underestimated.”
The public consultation on the final draft of the Local Plan is open until February 25. Suffolk Coastal District Council has arranged three drop-in sessions:
- Suffolk Coastal District Council, East Suffolk House (Deben Room), East Suffolk House, Station Road, Melton, IP12 1RT – Wednesday, 30 January – 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Felixstowe Town Hall (Council Chamber), Undercliff Road West, Felixstowe, IP11 2AG – Monday, 4 February – 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Saxmundham Market Hall, 29 High Street, Saxmundham, IP17 1AF – Wednesday, 6 February – 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.