CAMPAIGNERS trying to stop what they claim will be a 2,000-home new town being built at Martlesham Heath have pledged to fight on after gaining unanimous support at a public meeting.

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No Adastral New Town (NANT) is urging council chiefs to scrap plans to develop land around BT’s research laboratories and examine again the housing needs for the district.

The group has been heartened by government announcements that councils will no longer have to meet set housing targets and will only be required to provide new homes needed by the area. Suffolk Coastal, though, says the situation is very unclear and is waiting for more information.

There was standing room only at St Michael’s Church at Martlesham Heath as residents heard the latest news about BT’s proposals for its Adastral Park complex.

The meeting called on Suffolk Coastal to abandon its “flawed strategy” for 2,000 houses at Martlesham and 1,000 at Felixstowe, and to carry out a fresh study to identify the housing needs of the district as a whole.

It also agreed to write to the council insisting existing planning consent on the BT land for quarrying areas be returned to agriculture – or preferably heathland habitat – to be fulfilled. “After further discussion on the work done by NANT to date, the meeting was unanimously in support of the need to continue to fight the proposed housing development on the BT site, and endorsed the need to raise funds to support the ongoing campaign,” said a spokesman for NANT.

Suffolk Coastal deputy leader Andy Smith said: “I can assure everyone that as soon as there are proper details of what future national planning policy is, we will immediately look at how that impacts on what we have so far agreed.

“It was the issue of major housing policies that generated the most public debate, and given the comments already made by the government it is unclear how we should proceed with any such applications, and indeed how government inspectors would be able to deal with any appeals.

“Until the uncertainty is cleared up by the government, we are not sure how we can proceed with meeting the proven need for more homes for our residents.”

The proposals for the development of Adastral Park include 60,000 sq m of extra employment area to create around 2,000 jobs, a health centre, hotel, park, community centre, shops, café, pub and takeaway, new primary school and possibly a high school.

3 comments

  • Not a very "joined-up" proposal that doesn't conform to Govt Policy, has an invalid traffic plan, and relies on employment prospects that are completely fictitious.

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    LestWeForget

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

  • This proposal seems the most joined up of all the proposals East of Ipswich with the balance of additional employment, road and other infrastrucrue improvements and housing. It is unlikely any other scheme will provide the benefit of jobs and housing in close proximity and while it's right for the Star to report the meeting a balanced view of the potential of the development would be more useful.

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    amsterdam81

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

  • I'm afraid amsterdam81's comments read remarkably like a PR quote. A balanced view would need to take into account the fact that SCDC's proposed housing allocation was the least popular of those which the public was originally consulted about and it fails to address the needs of the rural parts of the District including the need for more affordable housing in those areas. Also bear in mind that the the original consultation proposal was for 1050 houses on the Adastral site (which was the figure set out in the RSS for the SCDC part of the Ipswich Policy area). The last minute increase to 2000 was not justified by the RSS, but does happen to align with the BT planning application. The future of the District's entire housing strategy should not be determined by BT, nor by the Council's short term desire to get its hands on the infrastructure funding on offer - they admit they are being swayed by the ease of getting funding from a single source. If this goes ahead and all the infrastructure is put in place (which is far more than is justified by 2000 houses alone) then, as sure as night follows day, the whole of the area, including Kesgrave and old Martlesham will be further developed. BT have said that their site alone can accommodate up to 3000-3500 homes. In terms of jobs, fewer people are permanently employed on the site than 10 years ago. No evidence at all has been put forward that the housing mix proposed for the development (high density with 13rd affordable housing) will match the target market for people who would work in the hi-tech business. Currently only 3% of people working at Adastral Park live within one mile. Other places where co-located housing and employment has been tried have been a failure. Even if as many of 10% of people living there work on the site, that would mean 90% would have to travel elsewhere for work, and by SCDC's own admission, of the sites originally considered, the BT site is the furthest from all the other employment centres in the area. So much for sustainability. Finally, please remember this IS a greenfield site and the new government has said there should be an end to the concreting over of greenfield. Amsterdam81 may not be aware that only 4 years ago SCDC rejected a planning application for 120 log cabins on adjacent land because of concerns about the impact on the nearby AONB and protected wildlife sites. Over 80% of the housing allocation is for inward migration to the District from other parts of the country. Is it right that greenfield land should be concreted over when there is plenty of brownfield land around the country? There is enough land in Suffolk Coastal to meet the genuine local housing demand without this scale of development on a greenfield site.

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    Mousemat

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

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