Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership face growing concerns over controversial ‘enabling development’ house building proposals
Campaigners seeking to save some of Suffolk’s most precious landscapes have defended proposals to raise millions of pounds by building homes on a protected beauty spot.
The Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership (AOEP) wants to raise £10million towards the estimated costs of defending acres of land from flooding along the coast from Bawdsey to Aldeburgh, and inland to Snape.
Its Save Our Suffolk Estuary campaign has seen celebrities, businesses and landowners join forces to highlight the importance of safeguarding river defences
The AOEP says without £12m of work, swathes of agricultural land worth millions to the economy, could be lost.
It hopes to raise funds from landowners, public contributions and special events. However its plans to raise £4m through “enabling development” has attracted opposition.
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It would see 15-17 homes built on “exceptions sites” – farmland on which housing would not normally be permitted but could be allocated for such purposes, in recognition of the wider benefits.
Around 120 people attended the AOEP’s latest campaign event in Tunstall yesterday, many of whom opposed enabling development.
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Troy Batley said it could lead to “planning creep” and more homes built on the estuary.
Suvi McCreadie questioned financial details, while Madeline Wynn asked why so little had been presented about the scheme.
Andrew Macdonald said AOEP could have done more to engage the community.
“We feel like we are being steered towards enabling development and yet it might not be as necessary as the partnership claim it is,” he added.
Sudbourne architect Howard Nash said he was “dismayed” the AOEP had not bid for Community Infrastructure Levy funding instead.
Former Environment Agency officer Stephen Worrall said AOEP’s flood warnings were “scaremongering”.
AOEP panel members defended enabling development, insisting it was necessary for the project, and refuted claims it would lead to more development.
Chairman Sir Edward Greenwell said: “We have no wish to trash the very landscape we are trying to preserve.”
Richard Davey, funding chairman, warned without community support, “the plan is dead”.
Lord Deben said it was no good to simply criticise enabling development, “you’ve got to have an alternative”.