Martlesham Heath Householders Ltd

We receive an update from the Martlesham Heath Householders Ltd:

We receive an update from the Martlesham Heath Householders Ltd:


The AGM will take place on Tuesday 8 June. Please look out for the AGM notice that will be delivered/posted to your address. This notice will provide further information as to how the AGM will be conducted due to Covid-19.

Martlesham Wombles

We would like to thank Martlesham Wombles who have been picking up litter around The Heath and Woodlands. A variety of litter has been collected including bottles, cans and general paper and card from discarded takeaways. Their effort helps to keep our neighbourhood tidy and such a great place to live. You can find more information on their Facebook page.

The Martlesham Wombles

CCTV at Control Tower

A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes. We are glad to report that CCTV has now been installed at the Control Tower due to ongoing criminal damage to this amazing building. Also, could we please ask everybody to prevent children from climbing over the revetments as several bags have been dislodged recently?

Tree Maintenance

Tree maintenance has been carried out near to Heathfield and Parkers Place and a fence has been repaired by the mound next to The Grove. This area is also a pilot site for wildflowers where seed was put down some months ago. Some tree work is also due to take place next to Avocet Lane.


Unfortunately, a small amount of fly-tipping has taken place next to a litter bin on Eagle Way and we are getting this removed. If you see anyone dumping sacks of rubbish, please report this to the local Environment Agency and take registration numbers of cars where possible. The same applies for garden waste which is seen as fly-tipping and not permitted on our land. Two such incidents have been reported near to Forest Lane and Westland.

Behind Heathfield

There have also been several reports of damage to a fence and a new pathway being used on private land which runs at the rear of Heathfield. This is not our land and does not fall under our responsibility, but we would like to remind people that this is privately owned by other landowners.

The Volunteers

MHHL consists of 14 volunteers who dedicate their time to maintain the village, the majority of whom have busy day jobs. If we can all do our bit, this will make life easier for all and keep the village looking as nice as possible.

Contact and further Information

If there are any issues that you feel need attention, please contact Martlesham Heath Householders Ltd by leaving a voicemail on 01473 612207, by email to or by post to Martlesham Heath Householders Ltd, PO Box 897, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich IP1 9PB.

Gillian Darley (AJ Information Library, September 1979)

Martlesham Heath is no one’s idea of a traditional East Anglian village. It is in the wrong place, the rough edges rubbed out of the design, with hamlets of different housing types strategically positioned around the village green which will never see an animal grazing. The more one considers the differences between model and copy, the more preposterous the idea becomes, but that does not rule out the aim of building a place out of which it is hoped a sense of identity, a community of interests, will emerge.

For the moment, the divisions in the place are brought about by housing types and thus income levels. Hamlet L (Coopers Road), up to now the only possible route into the village for first-time buyers, is, both physically and socially, a little apart. Hamlet F (Lark Rise, Swan Close, Avocet Lane), on the other hand, with a wider range of housing types, has formed much the most cohesive community.

The scheme as it is planned, responding to a burgeoning market and overwhelming demand, seems devised less in favour of a balanced village community than of exploiting the financial good cheer of the present. Hamlet H (Forest Lane) consists of plots for sale with design guidance from Peter Barefoot and have a considerable advantage in terms of existing mature landscape. The first 14 plots offered disappeared overnight. Other phases with planning permission include Hamlet B (Westland; Mathews Ryan, whose L/2 was ‘a bit up-market’ of L/1); C (Carlford Close; under construction, Culpin again); and F/3. As the report to the directors of The Bradford Property Trust put it at the end of the financial year ‘78-9, “the Martlesham concept has been established, found to be acceptable, and in current markets is profitable”.

Although sites have been earmarked for a housing association scheme, for single ‘working person’ accommodation for 41 and a sheltered housing scheme for 40 to 60 elderly people, there is no provision for rented accommodation (‘plenty of demand, no encouragement’), nor is there any likelihood of a limited amount of local authority housing.

Parker says a firm “no” to that possibility, though an officer from the district council referred to a scheme for 150 units within the village as “a nice thought” since they have almost no waiting list at present. So Martlesham Heath is, to some extent, a concept well-tailored to sales. The embarrassingly fey names (Lark Rise, Farrier’s Close) are part of that ploy and it is tempting to dismiss the whole venture then and there.

Yet the property interests of The Bradford Trust are somewhat out of the ordinary. Its holdings include several of the early co-partnership schemes at Letchworth, Brentham Garden Village in Ealing and in Liverpool, as well as large amounts of workers’ housing such as the model villages of Port Sunlight and Saltaire already mentioned. Modernising and selling off these houses, the firm has traditionally been immersed in communities of unusual cohesiveness. Parker’s personal obsession with the making of a village is something of an historic continuation of the thread to which all these places belong, the establishment of clearly defined settlements rather than the amorphous process of suburban development.

With Martlesham Heath now well into the first stage of its existence, the overseeing, omniscient presence of Christopher Parker is somewhat irksome to the owners of these expensive properties. His creation is growing up, becoming independent, from time to time quarrelsome, and less inclined to listen to advice. Yet this intermittent friction is further evidence of the measure of success of the original aspirations. The residents of a suburban cul-de-sac would not evidence such strong concern about the direction their neighbourhood was taking – unless the issues concerned the colour of their own front doors or the form of their garden fencing.

Christopher Parker likes to think that ‘village is an adjective, not a noun’. He admits it is impossible to adequately define what he, or anyone else, considers to be a village; ‘it’s the way you see it’. His objective was to prove that the typical post-war estate was not the only potential form in which to provide housing; he wanted to employ good architects, he wanted to take trouble, he wanted to induce a sense of identity into the end result.

There is undoubtedly an element of idealism in this, especially when matched to hard-nosed financial development, not supported by subsidy or shortcuts. Prices have undermined some of the original intentions. Under no circumstances could Martlesham be defined as a village with people of widely varying social backgrounds, but then many ‘traditional’ villages have long ceased to represent wide social differences. Everyone at Martlesham is an owner-occupier and this bundles everyone into a single economic bracket, however big a bracket.

With no permitted development rights and a string of 27 covenants on the housing, the form of the village seems inviolate, even after Parker ceases to exercise his function as squire. Whether the place could absorb expansion while retaining the intended plan above the limit of 1,000 houses seems unlikely.

Its future, therefore, seems set. A tasteful, prosperous, one-off enclave, but a place of distinctive and original character. It is clearly evolving into a distinct entity; quite possibly.


Shotley and Erwarton WI

Are supermarket premium varieties really superior? Can you taste the difference? This is what we set out to find out at our December WI  


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