People in Lowestoft react to Local Plan set to shape future of the town
PUBLISHED: 15:15 22 August 2017
Concerns over the amount of homes earmarked for Lowestoft and how the town's infrastructure will cope have been raised at a public consultation on Waveney's future development.
With the latest public consultation event held in Lowestoft, questions were posed over the proposed developments.
The Local Plan, released as a first draft by Waveney District Council, sets out potential sites for development in Lowestoft, Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth, Southwold and the rural areas in between.
By 2036 the council must plan for 9,000 new homes, 5,000 news jobs and 13,000 sq m of retail development.
A total of 4,991 new homes have been earmarked for Lowestoft.
The largest site being proposed is the North Lowestoft Garden Village, in Corton. This includes up to 1,400 new homes, a retirement community, employment development, primary school and local shops.
This is closely followed by 1,380 new homes that could become part of the Kirkley Waterfront and Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood. The project will also see employment development, along with a primary school, playing field and community centre.
Speaking at the exhibition, held at the council’s Riverside offices, last Wednesday, August 16, Peter Armstrong of Corton spoke about the proposed new garden village.
He said: “I’m concerned about the drainage and coastal erosion.
“It’s already a water-stressed area – what are the effects of 1,400 more houses going to be? How much will it alter the character of the ancient village of Corton?
“I’m not against the development and I understand we are in need of housing but it will be interesting to see how it’s done.”
Jane Lisantri, also of Corton, was more damning of the plans. She said: “It’s going to ruin the area and I don’t want it at all.
“God knows how much more traffic there will be.”
The proposed developments in Oulton, which could see 140 homes put on the land north of Union Lane and 200 put between Hall lane and Union Lane, also came under scrutiny.
Oulton resident Paul Whittington said: “It all boils down to infrastructure. If we assume that each of those homes has only one car that’s an additional 340 cars.
“These days most are two car families and this is going to add to an area which already has issues with traffic.
“The extra people will put extra strain on everything including services like doctors surgeries.”
Mr Whittington also highlighted the natural beauty that could be lost in the development.
He said: “People have moved to the area for a reason. It’s an unspoilt area and it needs to be left like that.”
However, not everyone in attendance had negative views. Michael and Christine Banks, of Carlton Colville were optimistic about the plans announced.
Mrs Banks said: “So far everything looks very good. We are in need of housing and where they are putting it seems sensible.
“People don’t want it be to be in their backyard but they have got to be realistic.”
Mr Banks added: “You’ve got to give the council a chance – there is so much land and so much opportunity here.”
The council were grateful to those who attended the consultation event for providing valuable feedback which will be put to use as the plans progress.
A council spokesman said: “I would like to thank all the people who turned out at the consultation event at Waveney District Council’s offices.
“We had a very constructive response, with members of the public raising many issues which will inform our decision making as we shape the Local Plan for the district.”
He added: “This is the first draft of the Local Plan, which will provide the strategic direction for future growth in the district, creating the policies which will help determine planning applications, as well as identifying sites for new homes, commercial and community-use development.
“I would urge local people get involved and help create the plan for the future. The consultation runs until Friday, September 22.”
For further information on the draft Local Plan, including how to give feedback, go to www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/planning/local-plans/waveney-local-plan/new-waveney-local-plan/ .