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Campaigners wait for housing challenge appeal verdict

Martlesham Heath and Adastral Park. Aerial photo by Mike Page.

Martlesham Heath and Adastral Park. Aerial photo by Mike Page.

Archant

Two sides of a courtroom housing row will have to wait for a verdict after judgement was reserved.

Last February, the High Court threw out claims that housing chiefs unlawfully cemented proposals for 2,000 homes at Adastral Park in Martlesham into its blueprint for development up to 2027.

But protest group No Adastral New Town (NANT) was granted leave to appeal the dismissal of its case against Suffolk Coastal District Council’s (SCDC) plans.

Both parties now await a written judgement following a hearing in London this week.

NANT alleged the council had failed to recognise the environmental importance of the Deben Estuary by including the development in its Core Strategy, which outlines plans for a total 7,900 homes.

Geoff Holdcroft, Suffolk Coastal’s head of planning, said the council was disappointed that the appeal court decided to allow a challenge, but that all of the issues had now been fully aired and reviewed in court.

He added: “Suffolk Coastal remains very confident that both our strategy and the processes that we followed in its creation are sound.

“I am confident that our plan will be able to successfully stand the scrutiny of the appeal court, as it has already been given the seal of approval by an independent planning inspector as well as a high court judge. However, this protracted process is now obviously leading to negative speculation, causing unnecessary concern and uncertainty among the wider community, which we would have hoped to avoid.”

NANT spokesman Janet Elliot said that delays could have been avoided if the council had “properly carried out its obligations and made its decisions based on evidence rather than convenience”.

She added: “In the high court ruling of February 2014 the judge found, as NANT alleged, that SCDC had made errors in the process leading to its choice of the BT site at Adastral Park for a significant housing allocation, initially for 1,050 houses.

“The high court judge further criticised SCDC for its failure to consult fully when it made the decision to double the housing allocation to 2,000 at BT Adastral Park. This decision was made shortly after receiving a planning application from BT for 2,000 houses on this site.

“The council did not consider any of the other sites available at the time and did not carry out ‘sustainability assessments’ in order to assess the relative merits of these other sites before making the decision. Disappointingly, however, the judge went on to decide that these deficiencies were corrected at a later stage in the process.

“NANT appeals her findings to that effect, on the basis that it is not possible for such errors to be corrected without revisiting the underlying decision in a lawful way.”

22 comments

  • Ian K: You say that "NANT's funding comes entirely from donations from local residents". However, does NANT not operate secretly as a Limited Company with no requirement to produce Annual Accounts? How much has been spent on NANT's legal challenges? Are any individual donors bankrolling the bulk of this expenditure? If so, what is in it for them?

    Report this comment

    Grumpy Git

    Friday, January 30, 2015

  • Speedway trrack is still operating

    Report this comment

    AngloSaxonViking

    Monday, January 26, 2015

  • I agree that BT probably want to sell off the site. They no longer have a use for it.

    Report this comment

    AngloSaxonViking

    Monday, January 26, 2015

  • Bring employment to the area? Unlikely. BT promised 2,000 new jobs - but when challenged they could only come up with 1800, and most of those are restaurant and building maintenance employees, not techies.

    Report this comment

    AngloSaxonViking

    Monday, January 26, 2015

  • The government has set every council a target for building new homes. With new homes come people, and that includes children. Those children need to go to school - that is the law. The schools inthe Martlesham, kesgrave area are full to bursting and have no space to add extra classrooms. Therefore, any scheme needs to include the addition of schools. Backing lots of small developments will not provide the required school places as it would not be profitable for them if they had to give up half their land for a school. Somebody said that it would just provide BT with a profit of £100m. So it might, but I assume all the other landowners are not offering their land to the council for free, so somewhere along the line somebody is going to profit from the sale of the land. The land is greenfield, and believe me, I am a big beleiver that we should build on all the ex-industrial sites before taking any more of our green and pleasant land, but that will need government subsides as often the clear up needed makes brownfield sites unprofitable - and housebilders are in it for the profit not charity. I am concerned about the infrastructure - it is already difficult enough getting out onto the main road in kesgrave at peak hours and that road is chokka, as is Foxhall Road. It puts greater demand ona northern bypass. There is no right or wrong answer - but houses are needed and we need to find a place to build them.

    Report this comment

    DebenBlue

    Monday, January 26, 2015

  • Deeber, in 2013 BT boasted of more than 43 companies on the site. They now only boast of "Over 20" That's a reduction in my book.

    Report this comment

    kevinwj

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

  • Deeber - 4,600 extra people a mile and a half from the Deben not cause damage? More visitors, more dogs, more boats, more bird disturbance, more erosion of the saltmarsh, etc, etc.... The real need for housing in Suffolk Coastal is for affordable housing in the towns and villages throughout the district. So people who work in village schools, pubs, shops etc can afford to live nearby, and so people can continue to live in the communities they have roots in (SCDC agree with us on this). But 2,000 houses at Martlesham doesn't address that need. Most planners now agree that building large suburban sprawls on greenfield sites on the edges of towns is not sensible.

    Report this comment

    Ian Kay

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

  • Ian why would this cause immense damage to the deben estuary ? is it not a mile away from the deben estuary ? i am not for or against the B.T. proposed site..but is there not some old pits on this site ?..where would nant put the new houses .. I do think the speedway track has now been swallowed up by houses and should be redevolped along with the road leading to the dump etc including bell lane and dobbs lane its now a nightmare to travel on.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

  • Ams81 - NANT's funding comes entirely from donations from local residents. I don't know how many donated but NANT has over 4,000 supporters. It does not accept funds from other potential developers. Original VM - 100ha of the land is greenfield, only the current fenced area is brownfield. NANT agrees housing is needed, but BT's plan would overwhelm local communities, urbanise a beautiful rural area and cause immense damage to the Deben Estuary, which is one of the most important wildlife sites in the country.

    Report this comment

    Ian Kay

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

  • I Fail to see that kevinwj....that tower is very small compared to the site its on..look at the pitcures..to say they want to close the whole site as its dangerous is bumpkin..thirty plus other companies use that site lets hope they dont read what you have just posted..and what about the workers who use that tower or building daily...to say its unsafe is a mighty big statement to make.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

  • The original Victor Meldrew - 'does that revert it back to prime farming land' - no, but it could have been used for other employment uses. Kevinwj - ' BT have been quietly closing the site..' - I did not know this, nor about the Tower, interesting.

    Report this comment

    rustic

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

  • What jobs? BT have been quietly closing the site and moving out of Adastral park for years. The wonderful tower has concrete cancer resulting in it slowly becoming unsafe. They would really like to sell off the whole site before it becomes dangerous.

    Report this comment

    kevinwj

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • WHEN (not if) we leave the EU we can apply Visa criteria to EU members and so millions will leave. That will massively reduce the need for housing (as well as removing the excuse of the idle that "they are taking our jobs"). So fuller employment (so less benefits), less housing, less overcrowding of schools, hospitals, etc. It is a win win win situation. Vote UKIP.

    Report this comment

    Johnthebap

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • I think everybody agrees that we need to build more homes, the arguments are about where. "Use brownfield sites first" is often the cry. Surely that is what the proposed land is- industrial. Just because BT have not needed to build on it after all, it's surplus to need, does that revert it back to prime farming land that needs protecting ? Of course not. Kesgrave was farm land once, Martlesham was an airfield. Time and needs moves on.

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • That's true rustic...but things change in the planning world most of new kesgrave was prime farm land now it's houses...and this government has housing at the top.. many schemes which were refused planning permission are now being ressurected. .more to come I'm afraid.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • This proposal has always seemed a bit odd to me. BT were granted planning permission in early '70's for employment uses here - industrial, research and offices. Now, just because they have not used all of the area of the site, they are likely to receive PP for residential use on part of it! I reckon the original landowners here would not be amused, having regard to differences in land value between employment and housing use.

    Report this comment

    rustic

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Agree with ams (81) ...b.t. is of massive importance to the area and it will bring many more high paying jobs to the area, that's essential in a low paid old farming area like suffolk.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Amsterdam81 - NANT is entirely funded by its individual supporters. These are almost all local residents, NANT certainly does not get donations from other potential developers. I don't know exactly how many people donated, but a few years ago NANT submitted a petition to SCDC with 4,000 signatures on it. As to your question 'why do people fund NANT?', the simple answer is that they want to prevent a beautiful area, which is very close to the Deben Estuary SPA, from being turned into urban sprawl and ruining an important wildlife site. For a more detailed answer see http:noadastralnewtown.com

    Report this comment

    Ian Kay

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • If the extra housing is needed this scheme provides the most benefits for the area including employment, road improvements and schools. All matters too important to leave to SCC. Can't understand the objections as the alternatives are much worse. Can it be assumed that one of the other potential developers or their farming friends are funding the objectors? Who else stands to benefit from a refusal?

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • This is another attempt to crowd Suffolk with more unwanted housing that will just attract more people to move here and use it as a dormitory.

    Report this comment

    Peter Turtill

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • The public money waste has been all down to Suffolk Coastal. Their proposal does not solve any of the district's problems, is illegally prepared, and results in a £100 million profit for BT. What's not to like about this proposal?

    Report this comment

    AngloSaxonViking

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • What a waste of public money. Who funds NANT, and why?

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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