For perhaps the first time in recorded history Ferry Lane in Felixstowe today bore witness to peaceful protest. What was all that about, you may be asking? It’s not an obvious destination for Citizens’ Action Groups, bearing in mind its close proximity to Felixstowe Golf Club with its remote Golf links and distant salt marshes. I can confirm there was a brisk and cutting wind stirring upwards from the sea, forcing lingering leaves from trees and whistling through the sturdy jackets and anoraks of the assembled protesters. The gale alone was enough to deter the faint hearted from venturing out.
Just what was the objective of this protest? If you live in or on the Felixstowe/Trimley/Kirton peninsula you will need little explanation. For some months, the one topic of conversation which swiftly trumps just about everything else has been the proposed Housing Developments in Trimley St. Martin hard by Howlett Way and Reeve Lodge and even more significantly the proposed alteration to the land use of Innocence Farm. All of which may be viewed in Suffolk Coastal’s Draft local plan.
Kirton and Trimley Community Action Group (KATCAG) had learnt of a meeting today at Felixstowe Golf Club between Trinity College, MPC. their P.R. Company and our own local Parish Councillors. KATCAG had decided to hold a simple protest demonstration to coincide with the arrival of Trinity and MPC personnel. What does MPC.mean? The initials stand for Meeting Place Communications and on their website they state;
“MPC works with developers and communities to help achieve successful planning outcomes. We do this by engaging with local communities, politicians and the media, to motivate support for our clients’ plans.”
As you are aware KATCAG are not supportive of the proposed developments in our villages and hence their mobilisation of available supporters to protest outside the meeting venue. Numbers were limited as the meeting was on a working day and Schools and businesses were all open. Most people were therefore already gainfully employed. But despite all the limitations of weather and availability a very respectable body of people turned out, including someone in their lunch break. Placards were waved, cars hooted, people cheered and voices bravely called out, “NO!” Words and cheers were swiftly blown away by the wind but everyone stood rock solid in the shadows of louring clouds and planning proposals they do not want. Good humour prevailed throughout the small body of protestors who each represented many other dissenters of the Draft Plan.
As the Village Recorder, I know I should be objective and balance the needs and requirements on all sides of the issue. On an intellectual level, I appreciate the work of Bidwell’s, the requirements of Felixstowe Dock and understand what Trinity College wants for the land it holds. I also understand the need for jobs and some housing and economic growth. I comprehend different groups of people have differing needs and desires for their community. But I hope you will forgive my lapse in objective detachment. For since I took on the role of Recorder, I have observed the high value my neighbours and friends place on our rural village community. Long standing residents mourn the loss of open views and deplore the development of land which nurtures small creatures and good crops; new home owners freshly respect and appreciate the natural world around them; older inhabitants have expressed their understanding and love for their community and the people who share it; all appreciate the surrounding greenery and open views, so essential to sustaining good mental health and general well being. Everyone understands places cannot be preserved in time and the necessity of moving onwards. But, this is our Home; this is where we live. We value it for being what it is; a village community. And this is why thirty people turned out for the first ever public protest on the corner of Ferry Lane.
I am sure there will be more protests and action to come and will do my best to record the participation of our village in the struggle to preserve the land facing development.
In the meantime you might be interested in viewing two of the websites of the different protagonists.
In particular part of the above site covers MPCs work with Bovis to secure planning in Witchford, Cambridgeshire.
This post is part of my ongoing Recorder’s Project.
If you have any comments or would like to be part of this Trimley St. Martin project, please contact me at: