Brocure and covering letter to Councillors

The brochure can be viewed by clicking on the image below:-

 

Here is the covering letter:-

15th July 2011

Full Council will shortly be debating the LDF/Core Strategy at the special meeting on 27th July.  Possibly the most important Council Meeting in our lifetime.  Much of the Core Strategy document has been received very positively and is welcomed throughout the district.

However, some elements, in particular the site-specific allocation of 2000 houses at Adastral Park, have proved to be extremely contentious and have generated much concern and opposition amongst residents, local businesses, Parish Councils and other interested parties such as the RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

We have created the enclosed brochure to provide a valuable source of information on this question.  It had been our intention to send you the brochure in February of this year in anticipation of the council meeting scheduled for March 9th.  That meeting was cancelled while a review of the South Sandlings Visitor Survey was conducted and so we have delayed distributing the brochure until the new council meeting has been rescheduled.

Inevitably, things have moved on during the delay and the following paragraphs are to update the content of the brochure to include some of the most recent developments, many of which relate to the Revised Appropriate Assessment dated June 2011.

Surprisingly, the South Sandlings Survey has resulted in no substantive change to the Appropriate Assessment.  Please refer to the letter from Suffolk Wildlife Trust which was circulated at the recent cabinet meeting in which the Trust expresses its concerns on this matter.

The latest version of the Appropriate Assessment demonstrates a lack of rigour when presenting “evidence” for assessing environmental risk, for example

  • it concedes that no data is available on visitor numbers to the nearby Deben Estuary and yet still goes on to draw unfounded conclusions regarding the impact on the area of 2000 houses at Martlesham
  • it states incorrectly that there is no parking available for members of the public at both Waldringfield and Martlesham Church.  Parking for members of the public is available at both locations so people can (and do) use these as the starting points for riverside walks
  • using this incorrect data it draws the erroneous conclusion that visitors would therefore not be able to arrive by car and would have to arrive on foot
  • it further concludes that this means that as long as the houses are more than 1km from the river, the new residents will not visit the river, therefore there will be no impact on the Internationally Protected Deben Estuary
  • it relies on an out of date 2006 study from Dorset to make the 1 km assumption even though later studies produced in 2008 and 2009 draw quite different conclusions as does the South Sandlings Survey
  • some of the proposed mitigation relies on the as yet undefined green space to the north of Ipswich, and the conversion of the Foxhall tip to a country park, which elsewhere is highlighted as being undeliverable during the lifetime of the LDF.

At the recent cabinet meeting the Head of Planning stated that details of “site-specific mitigation” need not be dealt with at this stage, and that this can be looked at after full council has “adopted” the LDF.  That might well be the case in the more common situation when a site-specific housing allocation is not included in the LDF.  In that situation the site-specific document is produced at a later date allowing for site-specific housing allocation and site-specific mitigation to be examined together.  However, as the authors of this Core Strategy have decided to include site-specific housing allocations within the LDF, it is essential, logical and fair that site-specific, deliverable mitigation is correctly determined before progressing any further.  Alternatively, an amendment to exclude the site-specific content might present a workable alternative to avoid further delay.

What are other Councils doing?  Tendring District Council issued a statement dated July 1st 2011 following their cabinet meeting concerning their LDF – here is an extract.

Council leader Neil Stock said: “We have listened to those people (petition containing 3000 signatures) and that is why in April we took action to halt the Local Development Framework.”  Mr Stock said the primary concern of residents was the proposed number of homes to be built in the area and whether they would have the opportunity to have their say on the future of Tendring. “Those numbers will be removed and policy changes made to consider the needs so we can develop local housing for local people,” he added.

NANT presented to SCDC a petition signed by 3898 people (from across the entire district as well as those from the immediate areas including Woodbridge, Kesgrave, Waldringfield, Martlesham etc) expressing their concerns and asking the council to reconsider this aspect of the housing policy.  All of these representations, including those from the solicitor, Richard Buxton, have been dismissed and none have made a discernable impact either on the content of the LDF/Core Strategy or the process followed by its authors.  It is also clear that concerns raised by statutory consultees have been ignored.

There is much more information in the enclosed brochure.  It contains tested, factual information rather than opinion and seeks to provide a balanced picture.  Please take a while to browse through the pages of the brochure, and please do so with an open mind.  We hope that you might then take a fresh look at the LDF and the documents accompanying it, together with the process that has been followed before you cast your critical vote on the 27th.  The decision you choose to make will have a permanent impact on this area that cannot be undone.

Yours faithfully

On behalf of NANT Steering Group Representing 4000 registered supporters

NANT Brochure A4

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