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Fight to stop Gulpher Road, Felixstowe, homes ends amid fears of significant cost and uncertain victory

PUBLISHED: 17:16 05 December 2017

Land on the north of Felixstowe between Gulpher Road and the edge of the town is facing an uncertain future. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Land on the north of Felixstowe between Gulpher Road and the edge of the town is facing an uncertain future. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Archant

Planning chiefs have decided not to take high court action to fight the Government over its decision to allow 560 homes at Felixstowe because of cost and uncertainty that an appeal would succeed.

Christchurch Land and Estates' proposed development of 560 homes, community centre, extra care/assisted living facility, play areas, village green, shops and employment centre off Gulpher Road, Felixstowe. Picture: CHRISTCHURCH LAND AND ESTATES Christchurch Land and Estates' proposed development of 560 homes, community centre, extra care/assisted living facility, play areas, village green, shops and employment centre off Gulpher Road, Felixstowe. Picture: CHRISTCHURCH LAND AND ESTATES

Suffolk Coastal considered whether to apply for a judicial review to challenge the Planning Inspectorate after its opposition to the project for the housing on 77 acres of grazing and farmland in Gulpher Road was over-ruled.

The Government had called in the decision and decided the district council did not have a five-year housing land supply.

With adjoining landowners now seeking to use their land for homes, Suffolk Coastal has since put forward a masterplan for north Felixstowe – suggesting that its 30-acre Eastward Ho site could also be used in a major plan for homes and state-of-the-art leisure and sports facilities for the resort.

Explaining the decision not to seek a judicial review, a council spokesman said: “Suffolk Coastal was deeply disappointed with the decision made by the Planning Inspector to allow this application, after it had been refused by our planning committee.

Exhibition showing plans for 560 homes, shops, care and community facilities to be built on countryside in Gulpher Road on the edge of Felixstowe. Picture: GREGG BROWN Exhibition showing plans for 560 homes, shops, care and community facilities to be built on countryside in Gulpher Road on the edge of Felixstowe. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“We did explore the possibility of bringing a court case to challenge the inspector’s decision.

“However, we have a responsibility to all of the council tax payers of Suffolk Coastal’s area and the council had already spent a considerable sum of money defending the planning committee’s decision at the appeal. Bringing a further legal challenge would incur significantly high costs, particularly if the council was not successful.

“As the outcome of a court case could not be guaranteed with a reasonable degree of certainty, the council did not pursue the matter any further.”

Felixstowe Town Council, which also opposed Christchurch Land and Estates’ plans for the 560 homes, had wanted Suffolk Coastal to obtain alternative legal advice on a judicial review.

Felixstowe councillor Mike Deacon was “very disappointed”.

He said: “The town council dismissed this application, the district council dismissed it, the general public were very forceful in their views over building on that part of our countryside, yet the secretary of state permits the permission to go through. Given that we were told repeatedly by the district council that it had a five-year land supply, I cannot understand the rationale that we did not seek a judicial review.”

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David Vincent

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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.

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