Suffolk Coastal: Still time to have say on controversial growth blueprint

Time is running out for people to comment on Suffolk Coastal's modifications to its Core Strategy

Time is running out for people to comment on Suffolk Coastal's modifications to its Core Strategy - Credit: Archant

TIME is running out for people to have their say on changes to a controversial growth blueprint that will shape their community for the next decade.

Following public hearings towards the end of last year, planning inspector Mike Moore made a series of recommendations regarding Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Core Strategy (CS).

These modifications have been made and the six-week public consultation comes to an end next Friday. The CS outlines the planning blueprint for the district up to 2027, setting out how many homes should be built, where the properties should be located, what areas should be allocated for employment use and how the environment should be protected.

The document has proved highly controversial, with campaigners highlighting a catalogue of concerns and threatening to take the process to judicial review.

They have fiercely opposed plans for 2,000 homes at Adastral Park at Martlesham Heath and between 1,000 and 1,400 in Felixstowe and the Trimley villages.

They have disputed the validity of consultation into the proposals, while also claiming the whole process failed to meet EU environmental regulations – an accusation denied by the district council.

Andy Smith, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member for planning, said: “The inspector held a series of public hearings about our CS last October and November, and as a consequence certain updates – known as “main modifications” – have been identified in order to ensure it is ‘sound’ in accordance with the latest changes to Government guidelines.

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“Views are still being sought on these modifications and people have until next Friday afternoon to make relevant comments.

“There is a clear expectation that we may need to look at even more homes, another 3,000 or so by 2027, but we had always stated we would review our local housing needs in a few years when up-to-date population figures and the demands of the local economy are clearer. That commitment is now even more categorically stated in our modifications, with a review scheduled to be under way by 2015.”

The inspector also asked for further comments in response to the formal revocation of the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS), which originally set out how the whole of the East of England should grow. However these have not resulted in further changes, Mr Smith said.

“We have also taken the opportunity to bring the document right up to date and make a few improvements to some phraseology,” he added.

Copies of the documents are available at www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk or at the council’s offices at Melton Hill, Woodbridge.

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