Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, recently revealed plans for the potential sale of the Martlesham Police Headquarters site for residential development, in order to reduce costs within the force without the need to impact on police services or jobs. If the proposed redevelopment goes ahead, it could see as many as 250 new homes built on the site within five years, including a mix of flats and 2-4 bedroom homes.
The plan to sell and develop the Martlesham Heath site, near Ipswich, would involve relocating the force to a new headquarters that would be “more fit-for-purpose”. Some Suffolk Constabulary activity has already been moved to Landmark House in Ipswich – a shared building with Suffolk County Council – which is on a site that could potentially be developed further for police use.
A public consultation meeting was held at Martlesham Heath Pavilion on Monday 18 June, and the consultation period extends until 20 July; the Police and Crime Commissioner has encouraged the public and other key stakeholders to have their say before a final decision is made. Depending on the feedback received, an outline planning application would likely be submitted later in the year, with Suffolk Coastal District Council making a decision in early 2019.
At last month’s public consultation, a host of concerns were raised over the proposal. Many objections focused on the impact on traffic, with the road network in the area already subject to high usage, and in particular whether Portal Avenue was an adequate traffic route on and off the site. Another concern raised was that schools and GP surgeries in the area are already oversubscribed, while others expressed concern that an ongoing “urban sprawl” could impact upon the nearby Portal Woods.
The proposed development is particularly controversial as it comes on the back of the approval earlier this year of a much larger development for 2,000 new homes at Adastral Park in Martlesham Heath. The approved development plan includes an £18 million school, £15 million of highways improvements, provision for retail and leisure amenities, and contributions to healthcare services; however, the planning request was strongly contested, with the local No Adastral New Town (NANT) group taking to the Supreme Court to fight against the development.
It remains to be seen whether the proposed Martlesham Police Headquarters site will move forward, but with the public consultation period with the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner due to close soon, now would be a good time for the public and other stakeholders to make their opinions known. You can email your comments to [email protected] or send feedback using their online form.
Image Source: Ipswich Star