AS a major consultation exercise starts about the future of Suffolk Coastal, protesters have again marched through Woodbridge to underline their opposition to a major new housing development.

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MORE than 300 campaigners took part in a march through a Suffolk town to protest over plans for a major new housing development.

The protesters came out in force in Woodbridge to show their opposition to plans to build 2,000 homes and facilities at BT’s Adastral Park in Martlesham Heath.

The march was organised by No Adastral New Town (NANT) and comes as a major consultation exercise starts about the future of Suffolk Coastal.

It was the second march the group has organised – and Janet Elliot, from NANT, said she was hopeful that the message was starting to get across.

She said: “Until recently I don’t think that many people understood the nature or the scale of the proposals for new development at Adastral.

“That is now becoming clearer – we have more people here than we had at our first march in September.”

Mrs Elliot also took encouragement from the fact that Suffolk Coastal councillors now seemed to be more aware of the proposals.

She said: “Everyone seems to now be waking up to what is proposed at Adastral Park. When we held our first march we had about 600 supporters – now we have more than 3,000.”

Plans have been submitted to Suffolk Coastal council for BT to build 2,000 homes at Adastral Park along with a health centre, a hotel, a park, a community centre, shops, a cafe, a pub and new primary and secondary schools.

Phil Dance, from BT, said: “BT believes that it has the right plans to deliver new jobs and homes to the region.

“Suffolk Coastal needs more houses to accommodate the demand from people who already live here and who want to live here. Adastral Park is a great solution and we feel our plans will make a positive difference.

“Doing nothing now is not an option in terms of the jobs and homes that Suffolk Coastal needs.

“Not everyone may agree with these plans – and we respect people’s right to their opinion – but many do and a large number will benefit.

“We believe that these proposals and the homes and jobs that they will deliver are the best long-term solution for the region.”

At last week’s meeting of the Suffolk Coastal cabinet it was decided to hold a public consultation exercise over the future of the Local Development Framework for the district.

Councillor with responsibility for planning Andy Smith said: “To effectively protect our district’s future, we need to agree our own needs for new homes, in line with national policy, and we want to hear if people agree with our views.”

The public has eight weeks to express views on the future of the district, and before the council adopts a “core strategy” which will help it determine major planning applications it has many hoops to go through.

Once the public have had their say it will be examined by the council’s scrutiny committee and cabinet before going for debate at a full council meeting.

There will then be a public inquiry with an independent inspector before it can be adopted by the council.

10 comments

  • Lord Lucan asks where we suggest building the much needed new homes. The answer is they should be dispersed fairly across the district. Putting them all in one place simply compounds the problems they create. The real need is for affordable housing in rural villages, which are struggling to stay viable because the people who work there can't afford to live near their work. 2,000 houses at Martlesham will not address that need. He also thinks Adastral Park is a good site because it is near the A12A14. But that means it will add to the already appalling traffic congestion. It is not near any railway lines or decent bus services, or centres of employment - apart from BT, but the highly paid profeesionals who will get the IT jobs (if they materialise) won't want to live at Adastral Park. Currently only 3% of employees at Adastral Park live within 1 mile and this figure is unlikely to increase significantly.

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    Ian Kay

    Monday, November 8, 2010

  • Lucan- The new town would be next to a major employer which is currently cutting jobs as fast as it can. It would also have direct access to the A12 and A14 which will have no extra funding and can barely cope with the amount of cars as it is, let alone 2000-4000 more. I recently moved back to Suffolk after 5 years of living in a city because of my love for places such as Waldringfield and Newbourne among many others. It is not visits to Ravenswood or Grange Farm that stick in the memory for years and leave visitors with shining recommendations of our county, it is the rural communities who have a bit of character and soul. I can't see how another disposable, identikit 'community' will benefit the county in anyway. It will merely speed up the demise of local community and rural living which Suffolk used to be so proud of.

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    Sam B

    Monday, November 8, 2010

  • To say that the need for new homes is a myth is rediculus. Is the british government a greedy developer? We are horribly failing to meet the governments own new homes target. Ian, I agree that new affordable housing in villages is whats needed but taking the view that this alone could meet the housing needs of the people of east suffolk is sadly unrealistic. I would sooner traffic be put on the A12 and 14 than through the middle of Ipswich for example. I have lived in Cambridge and Epsom and can tell you that as far as traffic problems go, ours is a small one. You dont build bus links to a place the doesnt exist yet but it would be an easy trundle to Woodbridge, Felixstowe and Ipswich. Whilst I absoutly agree that suffolk should remain a 'rural' county (which I love it for) you cant stick your heads in the sand and pretend that its not going to happen. If its not Adastral it will be westerfield etc or somewhere else.

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    Lord Lucan

    Monday, November 8, 2010

  • This is a little like the chicken and the egg. BT wants to profit from its land by building homes and the local council have to deliver affordable homes to fulfil the needs of workers. My view is that any long-term jobs will not be created in BT Adastral Park - they are more content to ship in cheap labour from India. Therefore, I think the potential for jobs growth needs to be assessed before these houses should be built. If the demand exists the plans should be accepted - otherwise no.

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    Red Robbo

    Monday, November 8, 2010

  • Lucan- The new town would be next to a major employer which is currently cutting jobs as fast as it can. It would also have direct access to the A12 and A14 which will have no extra funding and can barely cope with the amount of cars as it is, let alone 2000-4000 more. I recently moved back to Suffolk after 5 years of living in a city because of my love for places such as Waldringfield and Newbourne among many others. It is not visits to Ravenswood or Grange Farm that stick in the memory for years and leave visitors with shining recommendations of our county, it is the rural communities who have a bit of character and soul. I can't see how another disposable, identikit 'community' will benefit the county in anyway. It will merely speed up the demise of local community and rural living which Suffolk used to be so proud of.

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    Sam B

    Monday, November 8, 2010

  • Very often accusations of NIMBYism come from those happy not to be affected. The situation might well be reversed if plans for 2000 homes were next to the accusers' homes. What the protest group is proposing is housing distributed across more medium sized sites rather than a single large location. In the original round of SCDC's public consultation this was the most favoured option amongst respondents in Suffolk Coastal as whole. SCDC have not published any statistical results of later consultations. The jobs case is central to the justification of the whole BT scheme and its sustainability, and yet the lack of supporting evidence is quite startling. BT have given no promise of long term commitment to staying there and there seems to be no substantial evidence of how the 2000 additional new jobs would be created. This concern has been expressed by some councillors, not just NANT. Some scepticism arises from the fact that ten years ago BT forecast that the ICT cluster could create 3000-3500 new jobs (see section 12.8 of the first alteration to Local Plan, 2001) but there are fewer jobs there now than in 2001. Conversely a report produced for BT said it could well pull out progressively if it does not get planning permission, probably moving the work offshore (see para 2.11 of the April 2009 report for BT carried out by DTZ). The reason given was that BT wanted the income from the redevelopment to upgrade and maintain its buildings. BT’s pretax profits last year were £1.007bn. How can Councillors make a rational decision about what is best for the District as a whole for the long term under these circumstances? Even Tesco can't exert such pressure. SCDC published a document which they sent to the now defunct Regional Assembly saying (rather self evidently) that there was a strong link between the demand for housing and the creation of jobs. However that very same document went on to say that they (SCDC) thought it unlikely that the District would generate the number of new jobs by year 2031 that the RA estimated they should generate by 2021. Why does this matter? Because that jobs forecast was one of the inputs to the housing targets cascaded down to the Districts in the shape of the RSS. So if SCDC don’t believe the jobs target why are they apparently determined to press ahead with a housing target based on it? At the very least one might hope that, instead of totally front-loading planning permissions for 1000s of houses, they might phase housing permissions so that there is some linkage between them and jobs delivery. That way we can sure that the houses are built nearer to where the jobs are, rather than consigning farmland to history on the basis of questionable employment data and assumptions. Linked phasing was suggested by one Councillor at the SCDC Cabinet meeting last February but the officers told him that this was not possible. Where there's a will, there's a way. One of the arguments that SCDC are putting forward to justify 2000 homes in one place is that one developer (ie BT) would deliver the necessary infrastructure. This is a flawed argument on at least three grounds: 1) circularity - the infrastructure is needed only because they want to put 2000 homes in one place, 2) there are plenty of examples of successful developments on a much smaller scale; BT’s own consultants cite on their website Ravenswood with just over 1000 homes as one of their successes, and 3) why is housing distributed over several locations OK in Felixstowe as far as SCDC are concerned? Even if jobs are created it is unlikely (based on evidence from other developments in the UK and elsewhere) that more than 10% of working age residents would work on the site - so the other 90% would have to travel elsewhere. SCDC's own studies point out that, of all the sites originally considered, the BT site is the furthest from other employment centres. If the jobs do not materialise it will become an isolated community ill-linked to other employment centres. Quite apart from the traffic growth arising from the new housing, plans for a secondary school on the site (which would serve 5000+ houses) will result in a further increase in traffic from its wider catchment area. If Sizewell C goes ahead, according to EADT on 8 Nov, it would employ 4,500 - 5,000 people and when complete the power station would employ 700-900 people. And bearing in mind the 7700 houses in total that SCDC is aiming build in the period to 2025 and we can all look forward to some serious congestion on the A12 and A14. Unless, of course, the fuel runs out first. A final thought, would you logically try to put 3600 + more houses on a peninsula (ie 1600 at Felixstowe and 2000 at Martlesham) when, by its very definition, a peninsula has limited access - in this case over an already fully loaded bridge. It may just be that's why jobs growth at Adastral Park has been so problematical over the last 10 years? BTW I'd happily support Mr Smedleys' campaign against the issues he raises.

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    Mousemat

    Monday, November 8, 2010

  • Commercialization of the NHS? Not interested. Privatisation of council services? Not interested. Tripling of student tuition fees? Not interested. Cuts to housing and disability benefits? Not interested. Yes, it takes a planning application to provide much needed affordable homes to really get the protesters out in Suffolk.

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    Steve Smedley

    Monday, November 8, 2010

  • 2000 new homes is a lot of new people in the area. Even if you say only 2 people per property thats 4000 people. A few shops, hotel, cafe, health center and a school does not produce enough jobs to help this area with such a large influx of people. Trust me, I live here now and good jobs are a premium, there aren't enough to go round now, let alone with another 4000 plus looking. I know that some will have jobs already, but not all. I already do a 400 mile commute each week to find a decent wage! For its size this area is already full, please don't compound the problem. Think of the future generations that already live here and are going to have a hard enough time as it is!

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    richie w

    Monday, November 8, 2010

  • We need new homes. Fact. Where would these people suggest we build them if not at Adastral Park? "Not in my back yard" is the answer.But this new town is next to a major employer and with direct access to the A12 and A14. I couldnt think of a better place to build them!

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    Lord Lucan

    Monday, November 8, 2010

  • What is wrong with caring about where you live? I would rather live with people who do care than those who are prepared to sit by and watch as their quality of life is eroded away. This is about affordable social housing but about making money for BT. Actually, we don't need NEW homes. This is a myth promoted by greedy developers. We need to make better use of the housing we have, promote policies which demand use of empty housing and to discourage multiple property ownership by raising council tax liability on little used 'second homes'. Much so-called 'affordable' housing will become the slum housing of tomorrow, crammed full of unhappy crowded people. Don't let yourself be sold the lie. This kind of development is not a sustainable concept.

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    pinkerton

    Monday, November 8, 2010

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

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