Current & Future Green Spaces For Felixstowe

During lockdown I have noticed more and more people enjoying Abbey Grove, The Grove and the surrounding footpaths extending into the local fields and further still into the AONB. More and more cyclists are also enjoying rural Gulpher Road. These opportunities are under threat from development. Some of the footpaths could become urbanised walkways, we could lose good agricultural land and Gulpher Road, our very last country lane, could become another urban rat run.

If we don’t let our councillors know our thoughts and don’t respond to public consultations, the planners will not know our thoughts. Please take action. A Felixstowe Country Park Group has been formed. For more information contact: [email protected].

I feel strongly that the boundary of a large country park needs to be formalised in this area of north Felixstowe before plans for housing can be finalised. Housing developments can then be designed in harmony with the concept of a country park. Access to the country park, buffer zones, views, circular walking and cycling paths along with creating wildlife zones all need to be considered and planned in tandem with any housing development for the benefit of all Felixstowe residents.

If developments are given the go-ahead before marking out and preserving a large area of open public space for wildlife and leisure, such an important area will be squeezed into whatever land is left over. The process must be reversed; allocate the open area first and the developments must be only of the size that space allows. If wildlife, environmental factors and people’s wellbeing were given a virtual monetary value, the balance sheet would look very different and better decisions would be reached.

The main access paths mentioned in the Candlet Road Development Plan pass through Abbey Grove and The Grove. These wooded areas are both absolute gems for Felixstowe residents and Felixstowe wildlife. If they become major walk and cycle ways Felixstowe will have lost forever its only woodlands. They will become urbanised strips of trees and loose the opportunity they currently offer as areas of escapism and areas in which to experience unspoilt woodlands on our doorstep.

Abbey Grove is a Woodland Trust Millennium Woodland and was planted by the community for the community in 1997. It is still cared for by volunteers under the guidance of Woodland Trust volunteer warden, Bob Stoner. For more details contact: [email protected].

I sincerely believe we are at a critical, magical moment where we could put a plan in place for future generations of Felixstowe to always have accessible beautiful countryside on their doorstep. Let’s hope we do.

Judith Hedges

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