Big battle for funds as villagers step up fight to stop greenfield building
PUBLISHED: 16:47 22 April 2019
Villagers fighting to stop major development in the countryside are rallying to raise funds for a barrister to go head-to-head with the landowners' lawyers.
Campaigners have one last battle to try to stop the plans for hundreds of homes and a massive port business park – but it is set to cost thousands of pounds.
KATCAG, the Kirton and Trimley Community Action Group, is now organising a series of fundraising initiatives to try to raise the cash for legal representation at the public inquiry into the new Local Plan for Suffolk Coastal, now part of East Suffolk Council.
No date has yet been set for the inquiry but the council expects it to take place this summer.
Independent planning inspector Philip Lewis has been appointed to conduct the examination to determine whether the Local Plan is sound.
Stephen Wrinch, director of KATCAG, said: “We understand that Trinity College Cambridge have now taken on a barrister, so they obviously realise there is strong opposition to Kirton and Trimley villages being targeted for an industrial lorry park and a housing estate on highly valuable, top grade, farmland.
“We consider this to be an outrage, not only to the identity of Domesday Book villages, but to the destruction of wildlife habitats and the fact that we will need valuable food growing soil in the future - it could end up being more valuable than housing land.”
The group believes there are plenty of
brownfield sites for housing – but this is contested by Suffolk Coastal.
Developers often find brownfield land costs more to develop with the need to decontaminate and clean it after previous uses.
The new Suffolk Coastal plan, which will shape the development of the area until 2036, identifies sites to build 10,476 homes across the area as well as proposals for 6,500 new jobs.
The homes include plans in Felixstowe for a 2,000-home 'garden neighbourhood' development – which would stretch across the northern edge of the town from Old Felixstowe to the Dock Spur roundabout – on top of 1,700 homes already agreed under the previous version of the Local Plan.
KATCAG has concerns about the overall housing numbers and allocations and “huge concerns” about 300 acres of land designated for an industrial development to support the Port of Felixstowe at Innocence Farm, alongside the A14 between Trimley St Martin and Kirton.
The district council says the business park would support the port, reflecting its “important economic role”.
An auction of promises this week raised £4,500 towards KATCAG's barrister and planning consultant costs. The group thanked everyone who supported the event.