MP voices 3,000-home plan concern

By Richard SmithAN MP gave his backing last night to thousands of residents when he told developers they had chosen the wrong place to build 3,000 new homes.

By Richard Smith

AN MP gave his backing last night to thousands of residents when he told developers they had chosen the wrong place to build 3,000 new homes.

John Gummer, the Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, said the vision for the redevelopment of the two Trimley villages near Felixstowe was flawed and against national planning policy.

He told more than 200 villagers at a parish meeting in Trimley St Mary Primary School last night only brownfield sites were suitable for a major development and it was a mistake to try to build on undeveloped land.


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Bidwells, consultants to major landowner Trinity College of Cambridge, has unveiled a huge proposed development of the twin villages to build 3,000 homes on 165 acres.

However, a survey by Suffolk Coastal District Council in 2000 highlighted the need for fewer than 2,000 extra homes in a wider area.

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Mr Gummer said: “My own view is that what the parish council is suggesting is acceptable, that it is possible to have some small growth to meet the immediate needs of the villages.

“It does seem to be contrary to national policy to seek to build here anything like the extent that is being proposed. I think we ought to say quite clearly that we do not want it and we have to argue it from a national point of view.

“The difficulty is when it comes to those who are not local and do not understand the problems or that there are two different villages.

“We need the difference between the two villages. We understand why Trimley does not want to be referred to as the Trimleys and we do not want to be part of one linear city which stretches from Ipswich.”

He added: “These are not brownfield sites. There are other places in the area that can meet our immediate needs - this area has already taken a huge housing development.

“We have to argue nationally and we can win it if we make the case that this is contrary to Government policies.”

Tim Collins, a partner of Bidwells, said all of the Felixstowe peninsular had been studied to identify where growth could take place.

“We have tried to demonstrate all the land that could accommodate all the need if it arose. It is very upsetting when you see it in detail, but we would be damned if we do and damned if we don't,” he added.

Jeremy Fairbrother, Trinity College bursar, was asked if he could explain how much money would be made by selling land for development. Dr Fairbrother replied: “I can honestly say I do not know.”

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

A CENTURY ago there were 1,285 people living in the twin villages of Trimley St Mary and Trimley St Martin.

Today there are 6,000 people and if all the homes in the Trinity College masterplan are built, there were be 16,000 residents in 20 years' time.

The population is larger than some towns in east Suffolk and villagers fear their identity will be wiped out and they will just become a suburb of Felixstowe.

But Bidwells, acting on behalf of Trinity College, Cambridge, owner of the 3,500-acre Trimley Estate since the 1930s, believes it is better to build a quality development rather than piecemeal and fragmented projects.

New homes are required in the area and Felixstowe has already reached its natural boundaries, so consultants and planners are turning their attention on Trimley.

The masterplan foresees 3,000 new homes on 165 acres within the villages' natural boundaries of the railway line and the A14.

A focal point would be created for Trimley St Mary around the churches and Three Mariners pub, with a green, a new school, shops, small-scale employment and a new railway station.

In Trimley St Martin, the village centre would be between the roundabout and the Hand in Hand pub with a new village green.

The plan also includes part of Walton, where hundreds of new homes could be built on a field off Walton High Road.

The result would be the erosion of all the fields in the Trimleys with the new estates most visible from the link road from the A14. The house density could be high and provision would be made for affordable housing.

A possible start on the first phase of the new development could be in 2010. But already in the few months since Bidwells unveiled the huge project, exhibitions have been held, parish councils have organised meetings and pressure groups have been formed.

In February Suffolk Coastal District Council will hear from the Government how many houses it needs to allocate in its new Local Plan - its blueprint for the future - and two months later councillors will decide where they should be built.

Villagers are determined their voices will be heard loud and clear every step along the way to ensure a balanced community is created.

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