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Need for 360-home village estate questioned by action group

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:45 20 January 2020

The land off Howlett Way, Trimley St Martin, where 360 new homes could be built Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

The land off Howlett Way, Trimley St Martin, where 360 new homes could be built Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

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Campaigners fighting proposals for 360 new homes in a Suffolk village have asked the developers a series of hard-hitting questions to determine if there is a need for the project.

Buildings which formed part of the old poultry farm off Howlett Way in Trimley St Martin - the land has been suggested for a 360 home estate Picture RICHARD CORNWELLBuildings which formed part of the old poultry farm off Howlett Way in Trimley St Martin - the land has been suggested for a 360 home estate Picture RICHARD CORNWELL

Campaigners fighting proposals for 360 new homes in a Suffolk village have asked the developers a series of hard-hitting questions to determine if there is a need for the project.

Landowners Trinity College, Cambridge, have published plans they are developing for land surrounding the old poultry farm at the junction of Trimley High Road and Howlett Way in Trimley St Martin.

Bidwells, which manages the Trimley Estate for Trinity College, says the scheme will include an early years centre, play equipment, green areas through the estate and links to footpaths, and a new access roundabout on Howlett Way.

Bidwells claimed: "The growth of jobs in Felixstowe and the Trimleys, driven by expansion of the port, means that employment is now out of balance with the availability of housing in the local area. As a result, more of the new jobs are being taken up by people who are not able to find a home in Felixstowe or the Trimleys, even if they would like one."

But Kirton & Trimley Community Action Group (KATCAG) has questioned this assertion and other statements made by the company - issuing them with more than 20 detailed questions seeking their evidence.

Iain Irvine, from KATCAG, welcomed Bidwell's request for feedback from the community.

He said: "However, we need to be fully informed of all the relevant issues before doing so with any credibility, and would be grateful for explanatory comments on and supporting evidence regarding statements contained in various documents published by Bidwells in relation to the proposed Howlett Way development."

These include specific details of the growth of jobs driven by port expansion. Port employment has remained steady for a decade - even though the first phase of the Felixstowe South project, the last major development 12 years ago, was expected to create 1,500 jobs.

The group has also asked for a guarantee that Trinity College will not apply for permission until the independent inspector's report on the Local Plan is published.

Bidwells partner Tim Collins said: "We will review the questions and provide clarification. Given the detail required, we will be passing the points to our technical team and will endeavour to respond by the end of the month.

"In the meantime, it is important to highlight that the site is already allocated for development in the adopted Local Plan (specifically the Felixstowe Peninsula Area Action Plan, adopted in January 2017). This plan was supported by a suite of technical evidence (particularly in relation to need) and its proposals were subject to extensive public consultation and scrutiny before being independently examined by a planning inspector. The allocation is being carried forward in the council's emerging replacement Local Plan.

"The forthcoming application for Howlett Way will include a series of site-specific technical reports which will be made public as part of the public consultation and reviewed by officers, statutory consultees and residents."

Trinity College held a public exhibition of the emerging proposals in Trimley Sports and Social Club in July 2018 when more than 1,500 households were invited and 103 residents attended.

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