Martlesham police HQ homes plan decision is delayed
- Credit: Carter Jonas
There will be further delays to the decision over whether Suffolk’s police headquarters can be demolished to make way for 300 homes after a Government intervention.
Outline plans for the project were submitted to East Suffolk Council in March, but are still no closer to a conclusion.
Council planners and Suffolk Constabulary have been waiting for a decision from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government over whether a full environmental survey for the 26-acre police HQ site off Portal Avenue at Martlesham Heath would be required.
Now the ministry has written to the council saying that secretary of state Robert Jenrick has decided that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be required because “the development is likely to have significant effects on the environment”.
It will mean further work by the agents acting on behalf of Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore in order to produce a series of documents and surveys looking at all aspects of the site and the potential impact of the development on its flora and fauna, but also looking in detail at traffic, and the possible wider impact of the project on protected sites in the area, including the Deben Estuary Special Protection Area, Deben Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Deben Estuary RAMSAR site, Sinks Valley Kesgrave SSSI and Ipswich Heaths SSSI because of increased visitor numbers.
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Mr Passmore though has not set a timetable for moving the force to a new police HQ.
He said: “We are exploring the possibility of selling the site at Martlesham for development and relocating the headquarters elsewhere in the Ipswich area.
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“Nothing is set in stone. We need to understand the true value of the site so that we can then make a decision as to whether it should be sold or not.”
Previously he said that sale of the Martlesham site could create savings that could be re-invested into police services.
Villagers in the area have lodged a series of objections to the plans for up to 300 homes with the main concern the traffic the project would generate, sending hundreds of extra cars onto already busy local roads every day.
Some communities fear they could become rat-runs for drivers trying to avoid busier roads while already “severely congested” junctions would become worse.