Port of Felixstowe accused of ‘land banking’ over Innocence Farm development

Four villages have voiced serious concerns over proposals for a 300-acre business park in the heart of the Felixstowe peninsula – with two saying nothing could be done to overcome its impact.

Land at Innocence Farm, between the A14 and Innocence Lane, Trimley St Martin, would be visited by up to 3,200 lorries a day and 600 cars.

It would feature 10 distribution centres, plus a haulage park and container storage facilities, to serve growing demand for logistics space for the Port of Felixstowe.

Landowners Trinity College, Cambridge, have contacted Suffolk Coastal council seeking details of topics needing to be addressed for a scoping report ready for an environmental impact assessment.

Villagers have voiced concerns over traffic, vehicle fumes, light pollution, noise, and the impact on the primary school and small businesses nearby.

Trimley St Martin Parish Council said: “The negative environmental impact of the proposals under consideration is so great that it seems impossible that they could be counterbalanced by any advantage accruing from the development.”

Kirton & Falkenham Parish Council felt not enough had been done to demonstrate the need for the project. It said: “Until Bidwells, Trinity College and the Port of Felixstowe have developed sites with existing planning permissions and long-term brownfield areas within the port boundary, it would be irresponsible to approve in principle or give encouragement for further planning permission applications for greenfield sites, such as this.

“The track record of recent years is that implementation may not take place even if permission were to be granted.

“This application could be considered as a process of land banking – creating a portfolio of greenfield sites with planning permission, whilst leaving brownfield sites which are probably more costly to develop.”

Levington and Trimley St Mary councils have also flagged up concerns.

Bidwells said there was “intense pressure” on the port owners to source new areas for third-party logistics in and around Felixstowe.

Richard Cornwell

26th January 2017