Coastal: New year court dates set for legal challenges to housing blueprint

Some 2,000 new homes, business premises and other facilities are proposed for land around BT's Adast

Some 2,000 new homes, business premises and other facilities are proposed for land around BT's Adastral Park complex at Martlesham. - Credit: Archant

Dates have been set for a High Court hearing for a legal challenge over Suffolk Coastal’s blueprint for the district’s future growth.

No Adastral New Town (NANT) has launched a judicial review of the new Local Plan, claiming the council failed to comply with strict planning directives when it sanctioned the Core Strategy of its Local Development Framework.

The review specifically concerns housing numbers, their distribution and the proposed allocation of 2,000 homes at BT’s Adastral Park site at Martlesham Heath.

Cabinet member for planning Geoff Holdcroft said: “The court has now set a date for the hearing on January 16 and 17.

“This is an earlier hearing date than we expected and it is welcomed.

“I can confirm that this council believes it has a very strong case and we will be stoutly defending the claim.

“I intend to keep members of the council fully updated of significant matters regarding this issue over the coming weeks.”

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NANT is seeking the judicial review against the adoption of the Core Strategy on grounds relating to the procedures undertaken by the council in relation to the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive and Regulations and the Habitat Directive and Regulations, and that the council failed to engage in lawful consultation.

The procedures were an integral part of decisions made over where to site 7,900 new homes – needed by 2027 – in the district.

Of these new homes, 2,320 would be build on the eastern Ipswich fringe, including the Martlesham Heath project, with 1,760 in Felixstowe and the Trimleys, 1,520 in market towns such as Framlingham, Leiston and Saxmundham, 1,350 in villages, and the council reckons there will be around 850 “windfall” properties – unexpected sites which suddenly become available for development.

NANT said it would be asking the court to quash policies within the core strategy.

The group objects to housing being mainly restricted to one area of the local countryside, claiming development would have an “irretrievable negative impact” on the Deben estuary.