Green belt land could be under threat from plans for homes off Humber Doucy Lane

There is a proposal for 70 new homes to be built on land off Humber Doucy Lane.

There is a proposal for 70 new homes to be built on land off Humber Doucy Lane. - Credit: Archant

Plans for a new housing development to the east of Ipswich have been branded “mission creep” - with claims vital greenbelt land could be lost.

The proposal is for 70 homes to be built off Humber Doucy Lane, Playford Road and The Street in Rushmere, on land that is largely green fields.

But concerns have been raised that the development would see the loss of any clear boundary between Ipswich and Rushmere.

Pigeon Investment Management is proposing a main estate between Playford Road and Humber Doucy Lane, with a smaller group of self-build homes opposite St Andrew’s Church. Around a third are understood to be affordable housing.

But county councillor for Kesgrave and Rushmere, Christopher Hudson, said: “The feedback I have had is this is mission creep. Everything is driven now by housing.

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“It’s a village and I know the local people would not want to endanger what they see as a village.

“It’s an environmentally safe area, so let’s make haste slowly.”

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Speaking at the latest Rushmere Parish Council meeting, councillor James Wright said: “Anything along here is to the detriment of the village.”

Councillors also raised questions over whether the roads would be able to cope with additional traffic, how the church would be affected and whether the self-build houses were viable.

Members of the Save Our Country Spaces and Save Our Rural Rushmere Identity (SORRI) expressed fears that developing greenbelt land would begin a process of developments which could link up with the Ipswich northern fringe plans.

Ron Spore, from SORRI, added: “It’s vital to retain the clear boundary between Ipswich and the village of Rushmere and this development, should it go ahead would destroy the rural character of that part of Rushmere St Andrew.”

Councillor Mark Newton added: “This area is an area to be managed as open space to prevent coalescence with Ipswich, and this is in that area.”

A representative of Pigeon Investments at the meeting said that the development was “an opportunity that through ownership there won’t be coalescence in the future,” and set that “last time I was here I thought we had a more positive feeling.”

Mark Sones, from Rushmere parish council, added: “It feels like the overwhelming feeling in the room is we don’t want anything on that site.”

The mooted homes are the latest in a string of plans developers had for the land, with the latest a slimmed down version of earlier possibilities.

But while a formal application is yet to be submitted, Pigeon Investment representatives said they were consulting with the parish council in order to come up with a development appropriate for the village, including provision for bungalows.

The Pigeon spokesman added: “We are very keen to go forward with a housing mix that meets local needs.”

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