IBC's Core Strategy & Policies Development Plan Document
The Planning Inspector's final report, delivered to the Council on 17 November 2011 and to be considered by full Council on 14 December 2011, confirms its soundness legally and in the Council's consultation and, thus, with the focused changes and minor amendments, it should be adopted.
As far as the matters our members are deeply worried about, housing and transport, the Inspector confirms the relevant Core Strategies. As regards transport, the Northern By-Pass, the Wet Dock Crossing and an additional Park & Ride facility are no longer in the plan.
On housing, the Inspector's "limited number of changes" include the following statements: the Plan should "retain the priority for residential development to be given to previously developed land within the Ipswich IP-One area, whilst introducing a mechanism to bring forward greenfield development, should circumstances of unsatisfactory delivery prevail" and "Work on the supplementary planning document in relation to the Northern Fringe will start as soon as the Core Strategy is adopted."
The employment growth estimate is reduced but the need for new dwellings will be at 700 per annum for 20 years - currently it's about 650 completions per annum. This means that the Northern Fringe will be developed, starting with 1,000 houses just north of Valley Road on Ipswich School playing fields. The only major brake to this will be the agreed necessity for a major overall Urban Master Plan for the whole of the Northern Fringe, encompassing up to 4,500 homes, transport infrastructure including railway access, education, health, retail and recreation, including a country park. This will take several years of planning and consultation so the first start date is still 2016 at the earliest.
These conclusions almost completely ignore the people of northern Ipswich, as represented by the Society (1300 members), the Northern Fringe Protest Group (650 signatories), the Save Our Suffolk Countryside Group (335 signatories) and at least 12 private objectors - in total, nearly 2,500 who attended the hearings, spoke and replied to the focused changes consultation. The views of the members of the major house builders (Crest Nicholson, Barratt and Mersea Homes, each of whom had expensive extensive and expert representation throughout the Inquiry) and Ipswich School, have been largely listened to and confirmed. We need to consider what to do next to prevent this unnecessary and premature development.