Rumours that a council has bought a family house to demolish to create a gateway into a multi-million pound development have been confirmed as true.

Speculation has been rife in Felixstowe that East Suffolk Council had bought the property because it could be needed for an access for a planned 2,000-home garden neighbourhood project.

The detached house in Links Avenue cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and has been standing empty since the sale about nine months ago – and it could be years before the bulldozers arrive.

Residents in the quiet residential street are hoping the proposed access to land next to the Grove and Eastward Ho! playing fields will not be for vehicles.

Answering questions at the public launch of the North Felixstowe Garden Neighbourhood, an East Suffolk Council official confirmed that the authority had bought the property as a “strategic purchase” as its site may be needed for footpath access into the development.

He denied that the house had been bought from a district council official.

As the development was some time away, the council was planning to rent out the property in the meantime.

He said: “We have some work to do on that house but we are trying to get it back into use as soon as we can.”

News that the access is more likely to be for pedestrians and possibly cyclists will ease local concerns, though it will be six months or more before the masterplan is available.

The main access to the garden neighbourhood is likely to be a new roundabout on Candlet Road, which will also serve the estate being built between Walton High Road and the bypass.

The 345-acre garden neighbourhood will stretch from Gulpher Road in the north to the dock spur roundabout in the west and Ferry Road in the east and is being described as a 20 to 30-year project which, along with other housing currently in the pipeline, will increase the resort’s population by around 10,000.

East Suffolk Council says the project is ‘leisure-led’ and will feature a new state-of-the-art leisure centre, expected to cost around £25million, and is pledging to keep and enhance the Grove and Abbey Grove woodlands and also the 30-acre Eastward Ho! outdoor playing fields as part of a cutting-edge sustainable development.