The Trimley Churches from Howlett Way, August 2019. Courtesy of Becca Atherstone
When I met Becca Atherstone earlier in the year, she explained how she came to be involved in K.A.T.C.A.G. This local protest group have been raising funds and awareness for over a year in order to fight the proposed land developments in East Suffolk’s 2018 Local Plan. Few people on the Felixstowe Peninsula can be unaware of the plans for Housing in our area. Since first meeting Becca in February, events have moved on and following the submission of the plan to the Secretary of State on 29th March 2019, an Inspector, Philip Lewis BA (Hons) MA MRTPI, was appointed to examine the soundness of the plan. The Hearing sessions started on 20th August and went through until 20th September. They were not confined to the Trimley and Felixstowe area but covered all the areas in the East Suffolk area.
This week I visited Becca again for her view of where things stand now. I found her putting together a video about the wildlife in the vicinity of Howlett Way. It follows on the heels of another one made by Jon Swallow which may be viewed on YouTube and which has received considerable constructive feedback. Pausing in her activities, she briefly gave an outline of what happened at the hearing and also what K.A.T.C.A.G. will be doing next.
As has been reported on Facebook and elsewhere, K.A.T.C.A.G. attendees at the hearing were clearly visible and active together with the legal representatives for themselves and the Cross Boundary Parish Council Group, Andrew Cann and James Neil. Other arguments against the plan were presented by individuals from Trimley St. Martin, including Ian Cowan and Becca herself. Gerry Bremner also delivered an impassioned case against the Plan.
The Inspector’s Hearing was heard in the Deben Chamber of East Suffolk’s Woodbridge offices in front of good attendance from the public. Becca was keen to emphasise that all of these people, without exception, delivered cogent arguments about the perceived unsoundness contained within the Plan. There were about thirty members of the public attending the hearing relating to Innocence Farm all of whom appeared passionate against the development. Her observations suggested they were encouraged by the arguments of the speakers and appreciated their full blooded advocacy and of “going for it” in an informed and constructive manner. A common theme across all the hearing from many different East Suffolk parishes was their concern about fertile agricultural land being used for building developments, particularly as this is happening at a time of raised awareness of the impact of climate change and the necessity to grow more food following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.
The Inspector listened to the many arguments with patience, interest and understanding. He was consistently fair and granted all submissions the time necessary for a comprehensive hearing. Becca told me Annette Feeney, who is the Programme’s Officer for the examination, was also helpful to the various speakers. The report is not likely to appear before next year but if you are interested in viewing the arguments, you may read them on East Suffolk’s website. Considering there is now likely to be a gap of at least four or five months before the report for the hearing is published, it might be supposed Becca and the other Steering Group members of K.A.T.C.A.G. would be have a period of inactivity. This is not the case. Their energy and focus remains the same whilst they continue to meet once a week. Every day one of the members is working or conducting further researching. The crucial component in the fight to preserve the local countryside for practical and well-being reasons, is fundraising. The necessity for funds has not gone away as K.A.T.C.A.G. wish to ensure they honour all their financial commitments by ensuring all the professionals fees are covered, plus they foresee they may need to continue the battle in the future. They need to be in a position where they can comfortably challenge any scenarios including the necessity to take the matter forward to a judicial review. With an eye on the possibility of future development proposals, money is crucial. You may read more about what K.A.T.C.A.G. have done and will do on their website
Donations to K.A.T.C.A.G. may still be made through their P.O. Box number but significantly, should you like entertainment, Becca told me there are more social events waiting in the wings and the first of these will be a Quiz held at The Sports and Social Club in November. All are welcome.
K.A.T.C.A.G. Quiz Night at Trimley Sports and Social Club
21st November 2019
This will include:
- a Raffle,
- singing entertainment from Il Tenore and Forest
- a Ploughman’s Supper.
- And of course, The Quiz itself. The Quiz Master will be the fabulous Kevin, who usually presides at ‘The Mariners’ monthly Quiz Nights.
- Tickets cost £10 per person and Teams may reserve their places by phoning 01394 273278.
- Teams of 4 – 6 people.
Since writing this Blog, Becca has released a short video about the proposed development off Howlett Way. Follow this link to view it:
If you have any comments or would like to be part of this Trimley St. Martin project, please contact me at:
 Formerly Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils