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Campaign urges end to 2,000-home plans

PUBLISHED: 09:44 07 July 2010 | UPDATED: 09:50 07 July 2010

Martlesham Heath and Adastral Park

Martlesham Heath and Adastral Park

Archant

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.

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.

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EADT writer David Vincent has more than 40 years experience in Suffolk. He has explored the highways and byeways of East Anglia, meeting homeowners, developers and estate agents from Bury St Edmunds to Aldeburgh and Colchester to Diss.