Key Objections – Reasons to reject the New Town

A Summary of objections to the LDF is organised by topic and for a detailed explanation of our objections see our  comprehensive response to SCDC’s Local Development Framework and our  Objection to BT’s submission a revised planning application. Here are the key points.

Destruction of the area’s rural character.
The sheer scale and size of this development will swamp local villages, turning a beautiful rural area into an extension of suburban Ipswich, resulting in continuous housing from Ipswich Town centre to Waldringfield Heath. When SCDC originally put forward the LDF they said that no new developments would overwhelm existing settlements”. They have reneged on that promise.

A devastating impact on the environment.
The site is within a mile of the Deben Estuary Special Protection Area (which is also an internationally designated Wetland site), Newbourne Springs SSSI, Ipswich Heaths SSSI and 7 County Wildlife Sites. The 4,800 new residents, along with their cars, boats, pets, etc will overwhelm these sensitive wildlife habitats.

Worsening traffic congestion.
There will be an extra 2,400 vehicle movements a day on the A12 which is already under severe pressure. The proposed traffic lights at the Foxhall Road and BT roundabouts will slow traffic down even more. Congestion on the Foxhall Road, the A1214 (Woodbridge Rd) and the A14 will also increase.

Building on Greenfield land.
BT’s proposed destruction of a Greenfield site violates several planning policies, which seek to safeguard the landscape quality and character of the Countryside. The current planning conditions for mineral extraction require that the land should be restored to its original status, i.e. agricultural use or heathland.

It will destroy nearby villages.
The road to the River Deben at Waldringfield is often congested, particularly in summer. In places this road is single track and it cannot cope with the extra traffic that this development will generate. It is a similar story for the other nearby villages.

It will exacerbate climate change.
The 2,000 houses, with their driveways, tarmac roads, cars and household appliances will have a far greater carbon footprint than allowing the land to remain agricultural, or returning it to heathland (a scarce habitat), which would be the genuinely green option, in keeping with BT’s own environmental policies. The claims that co-located offices and housing will be more sustainable do not stand up to scrutiny.

Impact on Schools

In the short to medium term the new demand will cripple the existing overloaded schools.  In the long term, once the new secondary school is in place, it will remove a major barrier to further development on greenfield land all around the area and the new junior school will make some local village schools unviable.

The housing won’t be near the jobs.
Only 3% of the current workforce at Adastral Park currently live  within 1 mile of their work. Even if the new development achieved 10% new residents working on site, then the other 90% of new residents are likely to be employed further afield, putting more commuter pressure on roads. Dispersing the houses over the district would put houses next to real jobs and meet the well documented need for affordable rural housing.

It will be an eyesore.
The proposed visual screening is totally inadequate for 3 to 6 storey buildings. The site is just 88m from the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, from which it will be clearly visible. At night light pollution will have a major impact on the area’s rural character.  The architectural style shown in the planning applications is completely out of keeping with the local environment. BT’s consultants have merely churned out one of their standard designs without any regard to the site’s sensitive location.

The new ‘community’ will be isolated.
The new town will be completely disconnected from the other settlements east of Ipswich. SCDC and BT’s documents show that they are completely confused about whether or not they are creating a standalone new community or integrating it with existing ones. SCDC have carried out no consultation with residents of Martlesham and Martlesham Heath about if or how the new community should operate in relation to the existing community. Martlesham Heath residents may not want to be linked, they’ve not been asked and do not consider Martlesham Heath as an urban area.

The houses aren’t needed to create jobs.
BT has provided no financial justification for their claim that they need the unearned windfall from the sale of land for houses to fund the improvements to Adastral Park. BT should fund the modernisation of their R&D facilities from operating profits, as they have done many times in the past.

BT’s Planning Application is premature.
BT’s planning application is based on SCDC’s Local Development Framework (due to replace the current Local Plan), but this is in a state of disarray following changes to national planning policy, and has not been subjected to independent examination. Approving BT’s plans under these circumstances would be entirely at odds with the principles of plan-led development, and with Government guidelines.