Suffolk Coastal: Planning inspector to discuss controversial growth blueprint

A CONTROVERSIAL planning blueprint that outlines how a district should grow over the next 20 years is set to be discussed today.

Independent planning inspector Mike Moore is holding an exploratory and pre-hearing meeting looking at Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Core Strategy (CS), which forms part of its Local Development Framework (LDF).

The document earmarks where new homes will be built, including 2,000 at Adastral Park at Martlesham Heath and between 1,000 and 1,400 in Felixstowe and the Trimley villages.

Campaigners claim it will ruin swathes of countryside and decisions were made without the correct level of environmental information required by EU regulations – an accusation the district council strongly denies. They also say there have been failures in the consultation process.

Mr Moore will hold the pre-hearing at Trinity Park, near Ipswich, from 10am. Members of the public are welcome to attend. He wrote to the district council earlier this month raising initial concerns - and this will be a chance for them to go through some of the issues.

If the inspector is satisfied this will then pave the way for a more in depth public inquiry later this year, although in theory, if his concerns remain, he could ask the authority to go back to the drawing board and start again.

His concerns centred around the justification and consistency of the housing provision in relation to national policy and regional strategy and the deliverability and implication of mitigation measures. Mr Moore will not take any formal evidence in respect to the CS itself - this will be a matter for discussion should the examination proceed. Ian Cowan, of campaign group Save Trimley Against Growth (STAG), said: “The inspector has asked some very serious questions. Unless Suffolk Coastal present him with sufficient evidence he could ask them to start the process again.”

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A spokesman for the district council said: “Suffolk Coastal has submitted what it considers to be a sound document for independent examination. This matter is now in front of the independent planning inspector and it will be for him to determine the soundness or otherwise. It is the role of the examination to enable areas of disagreement to be teased out.”

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