On Thursday night SCDC’s controversial Local Plan for the Felixstowe peninsula was voted through despite a strong show of opposition from local residents and community action groups.
The Local Plan has been two years in the making and identifies land to build 10,476 new houses by 2036, including a 2000 home ‘Garden Village’ in North Felixstowe and a huge container park on Innocence Farm, Kirton.
Tony Fryatt, Planning Officer, argued during the meeting that
- a local plan was essential to stop a building free for all, and
- Government insisted on a Local Plan including specific number of houses allocated for an area. If councils did not comply there would be ‘severe consequences’.
He also insisted over the past two years there had been a huge level of consultation with the pubic and that landowners themselves have been invited to put forward development sites and these have been assessed according to rigorous standards.
Now it is true that there has to be in place a local plan that identifies five years worth of development sites and if there isn’t, developers successfully challenge opposition . However – the north Felixstowe land belongs to the council anyway – and the other big proposals are destined for land belonging to the most greedy of landowners – Trinity College Cambridge, who have no interest in conservation or areas of outstanding natural beauty – only in the money they can make.
There has also been public consultation but so far the voice of opposition has been ignored. Most people accept there is a need for new homes – but with at least five new building projects already underway for the Trimley/Felixstowe area, many feel that the developments suggested are overkill and will decimate AONB areas, as well as involving the move of leisure centre facilities from the seafront area to out of town which will bring its own problems as well as lose valuable open spaces.
It is also very unlikely that there will be jobs to support this level of development, with the Port now at overcapacity of workers and likely to become more automated in the next few years meaning a reduction in need for more employees.
The level of congestion from a huge container park at Innocence farm and the destruction of the environment in the Kirton/Trimley villages as well as the disruption to lives, including the forced relocation of Trimley St Martin School, is also a unrealistic price to pay for something that even the Port admit is overkill.
With the notable exceptions of Kirton’s Cllr Susan Harvey and Felixstowe’s Cllr Mike Deacon our councillors in the main have not shown a will to stand up to the authorities in finding alternative solutions. So if you would like to join the organised opposition there are two main groups that are pledged to fight this plan – Fair Play for Felixstowe
and the Kirton and Trimley Community Action Group