Fury at Felixstowe meeting lockout

THERE was anger last night after an estimated 200 people were locked out of a public meeting to discuss proposals for 1,620 new homes in Felixstowe, Walton and the twin Trimley villages.

Brad Jones

THERE was anger last night after an estimated 200 people were locked out of a public meeting to discuss proposals for 1,620 new homes in Felixstowe, Walton and the twin Trimley villages.

Felixstowe Town Council held the special meeting to form its official response to a planning blueprint which could see a wave of new developments in the area.

But the decision to hold it at Walton Community Hall sparked anger when only around 100 members of the public were allowed inside - and 200 were left out in the cold.

Ian Taylor, of Gosford Way, Felixstowe, said: “It was very frustrating. We requested a councillor to come out and give us some answers but they said no.”

Joy Swanson, of Old Felixstowe, was another of those closed out. She said: “I thought it was disgusting. It was such a small hall that was picked. There was a lot of shouting to let people in there.”

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The meeting was discussing Suffolk Coastal District Council's housing blueprint for the area, which shows potential areas where development might take place in the next 15 years.

These include fields between Trimley St Martin and Trimley St Mary, land the other side of the A14 between the Trimley interchange and dock spur roundabout, and sites off the Walton bypass and at Old Felixstowe.

The town council recommended that “area four” - land adjacent to Candlet Road - was the most suitable option for development. But it also requested that a new area be considered, which was land west of Kirton Road from the Trimley roundabout.

Andy Smith, Felixstowe town councillor, said of the meeting: “It was unfortunate there were more people we couldn't accommodate.”

He said people could still respond directly to Suffolk Coastal, and the presentation on the plans given at the meeting was available on the Suffolk Coastal website.

Ken Ferriss, of the Save Felixstowe Countryside group, said before the meeting: “We cannot let decisions which could destroy the only countryside we have in Felixstowe be taken without the public having its say.

“Our aim is to persuade councillors to reject those sites which use up our valuable countryside but we also want to encourage people to take part in the debate and give their views. Now is the time to do that.”

They have set up a forum at www.savefelixstowecountryside.co.uk for people to discuss the issue.

Suffolk Coastal says no decisions have been taken yet and the consultation is a chance for people to indicate which areas they would favour for housing in the future - the next stage would be to narrow these down to specific parcels of land to meet the need.

Members of the public have until March 28 to send in their views.

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