Suffolk Coastal’s Planning Committee was shown fresh conceptual images of what could be Suffolk’s largest housing development in decades this May, prompting intense speculation about what the proposed development could mean for the area.
Concept images of the site at Adastral Park paint an idyllic picture of life amongst the 2,000 new homes set to be built on Martlesham Heath. From shops and sports facilities, to green areas, a lake and a school, there is a lot to entice would-be residents. But many critics have voiced concerns about a variety of different aspects of the development.
Some of the loudest voices of opposition come from those who fear that the new development will have a negative impact on the Deben Estuary, a local Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In a bid to quell such concerns, developers have gone to great lengths to demonstrate how they will “green” the new residential area by incorporating 62 acres of suitable alternative natural green space (SANGs) into the site.
These green spaces, centred around a lake and fringed by woodland to the North, will create a natural corridor through the area, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy the local natural beauty, relatively undisturbed.
Further opposition has stemmed from critics who believe a new population of 2,000 households will put an unsustainable burden on the local road network, particularly the adjacent A12, where serious congestion is feared. In response, developers have announced millions of pounds worth of highway improvements in the area, ensuring traffic from Adastral Park does not burden local roads.
A final niggle is the status of the proposed health centre. While residents would benefit significantly from a local health service, the NHS currently only provides on site health provision for developments of 5,000+ homes. Opening a centre in Adastral Park would mean closing, relocating and merging another local health centre, likely Martlesham Heath Surgery or Kesgrave’s Birches Medical Centre – a move unlikely to happen.
So will Adastral Park’s new housing development be a heaven or a hell? Well, that very much depends on the outcome of the planning and the realities of the project when the developers break ground…
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