March 10 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Controversial proposals to build 2,000 new homes on land at BT’s research centre at Martlesham Heath are likely to come before planners for a decision later this year.
The scheme for Adastral Park was a key element of last month’s High Court case in which Suffolk Coastal District Council was cleared of acting unlawfully in its approval of its blueprint for future growth of the district.
No Adastral New Town (NANT) is planning to appeal against the decision because it was “made on such shaky foundations both in the normal planning process and in the council’s compliance with its obligations to protect the Deben Estuary”.
Suffolk Coastal, though, is now embarking on work to identify specific sites for homes in communities across the district and preparing to deal with the application, which it has had sitting on its books for five years.
The scheme – submitted in April 2009 – seeks to provide up to 60,000sq m of extra employment space in an innovation park with linked university provision, 2,000 homes, a mixed-use local centre, a school, a hotel, an energy centre, a public park and other areas of public open space, plus other community facilities.
There would also be major changes to the road network, with a roundabout on the A12 replaced with traffic lights and a seven-lane highway in places.
So far there have been nearly 200 objections lodged against the plans.
Philip Ridley, head of planning services at Suffolk Coastal, confirmed that now the court case was finished the district council would be able to decide the project, which will be one of the biggest ever to come before the authority’s planning committee.
He told councillors: “The Adastral Park plans involving the 2,000 houses are likely to come before councillors later this year.”
Ahead of that officers will be drawing up detailed reports analysing every aspect of the proposed development.
BT says its proposals “seek to secure Adastral Park’s long-term future as a world-class centre for technology and innovation, and ensure that it remains a key contributor to the local, regional and national economy”.
The company said: “BT believes this site presents a unique opportunity to create a truly integrated living and working community, and a genuinely sustainable development to help meet the local need for new homes.”