See first images of what 2,000 homes at Adastral Park in Martlesham Heath could look like
PUBLISHED: 18:02 30 May 2017 | UPDATED: 18:40 30 May 2017
The first detailed look at what could become one of Suffolk's largest housing developments in decades has been revealed.
Conceptual images of the proposed 2,000 home scheme at Adastral Park in Martlesham Heath were shown to Suffolk Coastal’s planning committee.
The images include the proposed “gateway” into the development from the A12, street views and green spaces.
They were presented today at a special meeting into the outline application submitted by Carlyle Land Ltd and CEG, which also includes a school, community facilities and road improvements. It is the third application submitted for the site since 2008.
Since then, the scheme has been included as a key part of Suffolk Coastal’s housing strategy. However, it has also provoked opposition from groups concerned by its effect on the nearby Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – leading to several legal challenges – as well as parish councils wary of potential A12 traffic problems.
Major projects advisor Ben Woolnough told committee members that planning officers, highways teams and other consultees had worked together as a team to have their say on proposals. He said a key feature of their work had been to ensure enough green space was provided as mitigation for its proximity to the Deben Estuary.
In addition to the areas identified for sports and recreation, the masterplan contains more than 25 hectares – around 62 acres – of suitable alternative natural green space (SANGs), which runs as a green corridor through the development for cyclists, dog walkers and other outdoor pursuits. Mr Woolnough said the greenspace had been a “key driver” in designing the site.
“It will make it just as attractive as some of the other natural areas close to the site,” he added.
An on-site lake will form a centrepiece for the SANG, which will feature a “beach-like environment” on its southern shore. The heath land, which makes up some of the current site, will also be recreated. And to the north will be woodland.
The planning committee visited the site for an inspection after Mr Woolnough’s report. They are expected to receive revised proposals for a meeting in July with a decision to be issued in August. If approved, the developers hope to deliver around 160 homes a year until 2031.
Concerns over A12 T-junction
Highways issues remain a key concern over the development, officers say.
Developers are proposing millions of pounds’ worth of highways improvements, which they say will allow traffic from Adastral Park to “coalesce effortlessly”.
The improvements include widening roundabouts, reducing speed limits and introducing traffic lights.
However, committee members raised concerns, particularly with the new T-junction and traffic lights scheme, which would form the main entrance into the development from the A12. Councillor Mark Newton called for reassurances.
Luke Barber, from Suffolk County Council, admitted highways “is probably one of the main outstanding issues”.
“It’s fair to say 2,000 houses will give rise to a lot of traffic and more congestion along the whole corridor,” he added. “While there are ways to mitigate that, it needs to be carefully worked out and there’s more clarification we need from the applicants.”
A new health centre is included in the proposals – but national guidance may prevent it going ahead.
Ben Woolnough explained that while the applicants were keen to provide health facilities, the development failed to meet required criteria.
He said NHS England would only support on-site provision of new health centres for developments larger than 5,000 new homes.
For smaller developments, such as Adastral Park, he said the preferred option was to secure developer contributions to expand existing facilities – in this case Martlesham Heath surgery or The Birches Medical Centre in Kesgrave.
Any brand new facility, he added, would require the closure and relocation of one of those two existing centres, which he was not comfortable with.
Committee chairman Debbie McCallum said she was concerned about the lack of specific healthcare proposals.