Traffic worries, flooding fears, education and loss of precious countryside were among concerns voiced as plans were launched for 2,000 new homes on the edge of a seaside town.

More than 300 residents packed into a lively meeting to hear details of initial work on a masterplan for the North Felixstowe Garden Neighbourhood project.

Council officials and designers stressed that it was early days in the process but accepted there were “a lot of local concerns” over the proposals – described as a 20 to 30-year project which, along with other housing currently in the pipeline, will increase the resort’s population by about 10,000.

The 345-acre site stretches from Gulpher Road in the north to the Dock Spur roundabout in the west and Ferry Road in the east.

East Suffolk Council says the project is ‘leisure-led’ and will feature a new state-of-the-art leisure centre, expected to cost about £25million, and is pledging to keep and enhance the Grove and Abbey Grove woodlands and the 30-acre Eastward Ho! outdoor playing fields as part of a cutting-edge sustainable development.

The council’s development enabling lead spearheading the masterplan creation, James Goldberg said Saturday’s event at the Orwell Hotel was to raise awareness of the garden neighbourhood project, the work taking place and how people can get involved over the next six months.

East Anglian Daily Times: Councillor Mike NinnmeyCouncillor Mike Ninnmey (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Goldberg said work was at a very early stage, but the council was “aware there are a lot of concerns locally about the impact” on the town. The council could not promise it would do everything residents would like and inevitably there would be compromise.

He said: “At the moment we are still talking about aspirations and concepts but over the next six months we will develop the masterplan into a proposal, and we will hold another event at the end of the summer.”

Residents voiced concerns over the impact on infrastructure particularly flooding problems in the Walton area and how development could worsen the situation, difficulty in accessing GP appointments, and the need for social housing.

There were also questions on the lack of jobs in the town to support the influx of new residents.

Orwell and villages councillor Mike Ninnmey said 4,196 new homes were being built in the Felixstowe area and expressed concern at the impact of thousands of extra cars on the already under-pressure road network – especially the Candlet Road bypass.

Felixstowe councillor Mike Deacon said he had spent the last 22 years trying to protect the town’s precious countryside, although he accepted the need for housing affordable for families. He had “many, many concerns” about the proposals and hoped the council would be prepared to listen to residents’ worries and fears.

East Anglian Daily Times: Felixstowe councillor Mike DeaconFelixstowe councillor Mike Deacon (Image: Newsquest)

The land is currently in a number of different ownerships, including the council, and is mostly agricultural. Persimmon Homes is currently building 560 homes on part of the site and this estate will be designed into the masterplan.