Blueprint for new Felixstowe homes

FIELDS on the edge of Felixstowe look set to be taken for new homes to provide the housing the resort needs to prevent it falling into decline.

FIELDS on the edge of Felixstowe look set to be taken for new homes to provide the housing the resort needs to prevent it falling into decline.

Planners have chosen two sites as their “preferred options” for 1,700 new properties - one-third of them affordable homes - which will be built by 2025.

Councillors will meet on August 4 to discuss the recommendations from Suffolk Coastal's head of planning services Philip Ridley, who is suggesting countryside north of the Walton by-pass Candlet Road, and sites between Walton and Trimley should be built on.

Around 520 other homes will also be built on sites within the town.

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Council officials say whichever sites are chosen there will be protests, but Felixstowe has no option except to grow - or face seeing a reduction in population, loss of shops and facilities, and a decline in its leisure and tourism industry.

More than half its young people move away from the area and its population has an imbalance with more people of retirement age and fewer of working age than normal.

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In addition, housing is in short supply - especially for families, with more single-person households due to divorce, older people left alone, and people choosing to live on their own.

Mr Ridley said the town needed to “develop or die”.

“We need people to understand that Felixstowe has its own issues and problems and if we don't take a positive steer to sort them out it will find itself very much behind and starting to decline,” he said.

“This will be housing for Felixstowe people with one-third of it affordable homes in the true sense of the word.

“We expect 70% of these homes to be for existing people in the town who want to live in the town in the future and not move away to find homes - it's not housing for people moving here from outside the district.”

It would be a mix of housing for all ages - children of people living in the town, older people who want to stay, and families needing homes - planned properly with the infrastructure such as a health centre, new primary school, shops and community facilities, provided.

“The implications of doing nothing would be horrendous,” he said.

Mr Ridley said the housing along with regeneration proposals for the town centre and seafront could really put the resort on the up.

“I believe there could be huge benefits and my top tip is that Felixstowe will become a boom town over the next few years with everything that is set to take place,” he said.

If councillors agree Mr Ridley's recommendation, the strategy will go to cabinet in October and then to further public consultation.

Masterplans would also have to be drawn up for the sites. The Trimley/Walton land is expected to be built on first, probably between 2010 and 2015, and the Gulpher Road area after 2015.

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