Gallery: Housing plans protest march in Woodbridge

AS a major consultation exercise starts about the future of Suffolk Coastal, protesters have again marched through Woodbridge to underline their opposition to a major new housing development.

MORE than 300 campaigners took part in a march through a Suffolk town to protest over plans for a major new housing development.

The protesters came out in force in Woodbridge to show their opposition to plans to build 2,000 homes and facilities at BT’s Adastral Park in Martlesham Heath.

The march was organised by No Adastral New Town (NANT) and comes as a major consultation exercise starts about the future of Suffolk Coastal.

It was the second march the group has organised – and Janet Elliot, from NANT, said she was hopeful that the message was starting to get across.

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She said: “Until recently I don’t think that many people understood the nature or the scale of the proposals for new development at Adastral.

“That is now becoming clearer – we have more people here than we had at our first march in September.”

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Mrs Elliot also took encouragement from the fact that Suffolk Coastal councillors now seemed to be more aware of the proposals.

She said: “Everyone seems to now be waking up to what is proposed at Adastral Park. When we held our first march we had about 600 supporters – now we have more than 3,000.”

Plans have been submitted to Suffolk Coastal council for BT to build 2,000 homes at Adastral Park along with a health centre, a hotel, a park, a community centre, shops, a cafe, a pub and new primary and secondary schools.

Phil Dance, from BT, said: “BT believes that it has the right plans to deliver new jobs and homes to the region.

“Suffolk Coastal needs more houses to accommodate the demand from people who already live here and who want to live here. Adastral Park is a great solution and we feel our plans will make a positive difference.

“Doing nothing now is not an option in terms of the jobs and homes that Suffolk Coastal needs.

“Not everyone may agree with these plans – and we respect people’s right to their opinion – but many do and a large number will benefit.

“We believe that these proposals and the homes and jobs that they will deliver are the best long-term solution for the region.”

At last week’s meeting of the Suffolk Coastal cabinet it was decided to hold a public consultation exercise over the future of the Local Development Framework for the district.

Councillor with responsibility for planning Andy Smith said: “To effectively protect our district’s future, we need to agree our own needs for new homes, in line with national policy, and we want to hear if people agree with our views.”

The public has eight weeks to express views on the future of the district, and before the council adopts a “core strategy” which will help it determine major planning applications it has many hoops to go through.

Once the public have had their say it will be examined by the council’s scrutiny committee and cabinet before going for debate at a full council meeting.

There will then be a public inquiry with an independent inspector before it can be adopted by the council.

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