Suffolk Coastal: Controversial growth plan is given the thumbs-up by inspector

Suffolk Coastal District Council's Core Strategy has been approved by an independent inspector

Suffolk Coastal District Council's Core Strategy has been approved by an independent inspector - Credit: Archant

An independent inspector has given the thumbs up to a controversial planning blueprint that sets out how a district will grow over the next 15 years.

Mike Moore’s approval of Suffolk Coastal’s Core Strategy (CS) comes following a lengthy public inquiry at the end of last year.

Yesterday it was announced that he found the document - which sparked fierce opposition from campaigners - to be “sound”, subject to modifications discussed during the consultation process.

The CS outlines where 7,900 new homes will be built across the district - including 2,000 at Adastral Park at Martlesham Heath and between 1,000 and 1,400 in Felixstowe and the Trimley villages. It also sets out areas for industrial and commercial development, while identifying measures to protect the district’s environment.

It has been opposed by campaigners from No Adastral New Town (NANT) and Save Trimley Against Growth (STAG), which disputed the validity of consultation into the proposals, while Waldringfield Parish Council claimed the whole process failed to meet EU environmental regulations - an accusation denied by the district council.

Andy Smith, Suffolk Coastal’s deputy leader and cabinet member with responsibility for planning, said: “At last we have the cornerstone in place to allow us to properly plan and manage growth and development, delivering much-needed additional homes, new jobs and improved infrastructure, while maintaining and enhancing the environment and quality of life which we all cherish.

“Once it is formally adopted by the council, it will enable us to reject inappropriate or piecemeal development which does not meet the requirements of the strategy.”

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The CS, incorporating all of the modifications recommended by the inspector, will now go before Suffolk Coastal’s full council, with a recommendation for adoption.

The authority has agreed to undertake an early review of the document to fully assess the housing needs of the area, set to start by 2015.

Mr Smith said the council would now work with local communities to identify and allocate specific sites for development.

“This has been a long process and the draft plan raised considerable debate,” he said. “While not everyone will be happy with this outcome, I hope we can now all draw a line in the sand and work collaboratively to take this plan forward.”

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