Campaigners accused of hindering the planning system in east Suffolk by engaging in a long-running legal battle with the district council over housing have insisted they are not attempting to “sabotage” the authority.

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No to Adastral New Town (NANT) was granted permission last week to appeal against the High Court’s decision to reject its claims that Suffolk Coastal District Council had failed in its obligations when creating proposals for 2,000 homes at Martlesham Heath.

The decision had been met with disappointment by Geoff Holdcroft, who is responsible for planning at the council, as he feared it would cast further delays over “much-needed” new housing at Adastral Park.

He was also concerned the prolonged legal challenge would leave the council’s core strategy incomplete, giving developers the opportunity to take inappropriate developments that it rejected to appeal, as a number had already done.

Although NANT’s spokesman Janet Elliot accepts the decision is “annoying” for SCDC, she said it could have all been avoided if the authority had acted properly to begin with.

“They can bang on all they like about causing them all sorts of problems but the bottom line is that if they had done their job properly in the first place none of this would have happened,” she said.

“We all think it’s very regrettable that the people involved in NANT have had to spend so much of their time and money in taking this as far as we have but we aren’t trying to sabotage the council.”

Ms Elliot claims the problem dates back to SCDC’s alleged failure to recognise the significance of the environmental importance of the Deben Estuary when putting forward its core strategy housing proposals.

Parts of the estuary near to the proposed housing site are designated as a Ramsar site, which means it is recognised as being of international importance due to its rare examples of natural wetland. Ms Elliot claims this fundamental aspect of their argument has been consistently overlooked and she was therefore “very pleased” that NANT was granted permission to appeal the High Court decision, made in February.

“We feel that this vindicates our decision to start our legal action. We did not make that decision lightly but the council’s intransigence left us with little choice,” she said.

“It is disappointing that the local community was forced to go to such lengths. We believe that the council went badly wrong procedurally at the early stages of developing its core strategy. It failed to comply fully with EU habitat and environment directives when choosing Adastral Park as the site for its strategic housing allocation of 2000 houses.”

Mr Holdcroft said the decision was “extremely disappointing”.

“There is a clear need to have a policy framework in place to properly plan for the needed homes and jobs and we will continue to strongly argue our position on this matter,” he added.

9 comments

  • If the residents of Martlesham had adopted the same attitude as NANT in the 1970's, there wouldn't have been a Martlesham Heath Village. We need new housing in this area if our young people are ever going to get the opportunity to own their own homes. The housing crisis is more about lack of supply than anything else, and people like NANT, who already have their own homes, just add to the misery for our young people.

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    Haystack

    Monday, August 11, 2014

  • And yet again we have opposing views from Amsterdam81. Haven’t you got anything better to do other than to continually write clueless nonsense?

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    David White

    Monday, August 11, 2014

  • This self interest group are happy to support a flood prevention scheme at Walderingfield while opposing anything that helps SCDC residents as a whole. The scheme proposed supports long term work opportunities, road improvements and new scholls , the cost of which any of the alternative schemes would require to be met from the public purse. The most important question that NANT will not answer is where does their money come from to support these legal battles. One can only assume the funding comes from the developers who wish to develop alternative sites around Kesgrave. The ball is in NANTs court to say if this is not the case. They have failed to do this so far.

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    amsterdam81

    Saturday, August 9, 2014

  • Can my comments from yesterday now be published?

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    amsterdam81

    Saturday, August 9, 2014

  • Why only publish comments that support NANT?

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    amsterdam81

    Saturday, August 9, 2014

  • Strange how we aren't allowed to have allotments in that area due to the Council's Environmental team discovering rare "Acid grass", yet they are quite willing to allow it to be destroyed by building on it.

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    kevinwj

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • This is giving me serious concern that there might be other 'reasons' why Mr Holdcroft does not want 'Local People' to have a say in extremely important decisions which will affect them for the rest of their lives !. Had the Council acted properly in the first place and with 'due process' then maybe all of this could have been avoided ?, however they conveniently forget that they are OUR Public Servants !, not the other way around !

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    freedomf

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • Well done Janet and all behind NANT. The Council are incompetent.

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    David White

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • How would this provide any jobs other than the short term jobs during construction? That doesn't benefit the local economy, so it's not part of the argument.

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    Tamara Knight

    Friday, August 8, 2014

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

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