From Neil Winship of Waldringfield to the East Anglian Daily Times
Naturally BT wants the windfall capital gain that will come from getting planning permission for development of land it inherited via the RAF and GPO. It is also understandable that planners advise an Adastral New Town of 2,000 or maybe even 3,500 new homes will justify a new primary school, possibly an academy, a surgery and the necessary increase in electricity, water and sewage services.
Road traffic is a major concern not only on the A12 and A14, but also on the commuter road and lanes. Selfish motorists cause a tragically high incidence of accidents on minor roads and already deter cyclists, runners and walkers who wish to exercise their rights to keep healthy and enjoy the countryside. May be rising oil prices and congestion coupled with improved means for working from home or a community business centre will curb the tyranny of traffic – in our children’s lifetime.
But those children will have to cope with the inevitable effects of climate change, which in this District include water scarcity and probably localised flash flooding; and our grandchildren may see productive and residential land being lost to the North Sea. They will also face rising food prices, especially of imported produce and meat, as the rest of the world claim and can pay for their fair share, oil prices force reductions in food-miles and the scarcity of water for irrigation limits crop yields, for example throughout the Mediterranean Basin.
When John Prescott’s Department calculated that England would need 3.25 M new homes by 2025, neither the recession nor climate change had begun to bite us. That figure was predicated on economic growth, our population increasing due to longevity, some net immigration and reducing numbers of residents per property as a result of increasing prevalence of single-parent families and second-homes. Clearly those factors are linked to financial prosperity – apart from obesity due to over indulgence reducing life expectancy but not fecundity! Now that austerity is required of us all including our District Council, it must be prudent to review the assumptions on which the LDF and Adastral New Town planning have been based.
One such assumption was that the Haven Gateway of the ports of Harwich, Mistley, Ipswich and Felixstowe would host significant growth in businesses, jobs and thereby housing demand in the whole of that designated Haven growth-area including Martlesham. It would be interesting to know the ratio for essential cargos in and out of Felixstowe compared to short-life, fashion and ‘conspicuous consumer’ tonnages in and rubbish out. Not only may that ratio have changed with our recession, but also as the economic giants of India and China flex their muscles, our UK economy will have to adjust, which seems likely to effect the demands on the Haven Gateway and thereby local housing.
In summary it seems that the recession, climate change and global competition call in to question plans to build some 2,000 – 3,500 houses on agricultural land and a quarry that is so very suitable for wildlife and growing when the digging stops. All of us voters have a responsibility to hand on to our children a wholesome District and sustainable local economy, which our more perceptive elected councillors know is never just a matter of money and the short term.
Neil Winship Waldringfield, Ipswich IP12 4**