Go-ahead urged for new homes to help boost Felixstowe’s prosperity

Christchurch Land and Estates' proposed development of 560 homes, community centre, extra care/assis

Christchurch Land and Estates' proposed development of 560 homes, community centre, extra care/assisted living facility, play areas, village green, shops and employment centre off Gulpher Road,. Felixstowe. - Credit: Archant

Developers behind proposals for 560 new homes on the edge of Felixstowe have accused planning bosses of being “in denial” over the scale of the district-wide housing problem which they face.

Suffolk Coastal councillors are being recommended to refuse the plans for 77 acres off Gulpher Road and Candlet Road tomorrow because they would create “significant and demonstrable” harm to the resort and the loss of some of its best and most versatile farmland.

In addition to the homes, Christchurch Land and Estates has submitted plans for a community centre, convenience store, 10 acres of open space and play areas, 60-bed care home, 50 assisted living units, business premises and 25 acres of wildlife corridors.

The site’s current uses include a golf driving range and grazing for 40-plus horses. It stretches to The Grove woodland.

Tony Harris, director at Christchurch, said, “It was very encouraging to read recently that the leader of Suffolk Coastal, Ray Herring has publicly stated that there is a need to act on the local housing crisis.

“However, it is hard to fathom exactly how the council intends to do this, as a review in 2015 of the district’s housing needs for which there is a specific commitment in its own policy is now not intended to take place. It is time that actions spoke louder than words.”

Christchurch claims Suffolk Coastal’s current housing land supply, which the Government says should be five years, is less than two years. The council disputes this, saying it has a 4.3 year supply.

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Mr Harris said: “We have a situation in the district now where there needs to be a step-change in housing delivery, or things will just get worse.

“This is not just about meeting the needs of existing and future residents, it is also about the economic prosperity of Felixstowe.

“The container port has recently announced plans to double its capacity by 2030 and is a nationally-important generator of wealth.

“Homes for people that work at the port are needed to cope with that expansion, or it will just lead to long-distance commuting.

“There’s a great opportunity here to provide quality new homes right on the doorstep of the district’s major employer.

“This is no longer a debate about whether greenfield land should be used to accommodate new housing, as the council has already accepted that this needs to be the case. We have a sustainable plan for an urban extension to Felixstowe, which council officers say is a ‘well thought out and sensitive option for the site’.

“We firmly believe that this is a better option than the council’s idea of dispersing housing development into villages like the Trimleys.

“We believe that this is in the best interests of Felixstowe, the district and its residents. Members can vote for action on housing on Wednesday by rejecting their officers’ advice and supporting our proposals.”

In a report, planning officers say Candlet Road is a strong physical “barrier” that denotes the extent of the existing built-up settlement and the proposed estate would be isolated and not well related to the established built up area, with poor access to services and facilities.

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