... through the adoption of Supplementary Planning Documents

The Council produces Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) to provide greater detail on the planning policies that have been adopted in the Ipswich Local Plan. At the Full Council meeting in July, two Supplementary Planning Documents were adopted following public consultation: the Ipswich Urban Characterisation Studies and the Ipswich Town Centre & Waterfront Public Realm Strategy.


Ipswich Urban Characterisation Studies

In planning for growth in Ipswich, it is important to deliver high quality change which safeguards the best of the town’s character and secures positive improvements to the townscape. The Ipswich Urban Characterisation Study SPDs were commenced to provide urban character analysis and guidance to areas outside of the town’s core which do not benefit from design guidance (such as Conservation Area appraisals).

The borough was divided into eight ‘urban character areas’, to explore where local distinctiveness could be identified and help inform new development. The adopted SPDs enable valued characteristics to be taken into account when changes affecting an area are proposed by way of a planning application and ensure that development and change reinforces local distinctiveness and contributes to good design. The documents also look at the history and development of parts of the borough which are outside of the medieval core of the town, revealing the history of the borough prior to the widespread suburban growth of the town. The Ipswich Urban Characterisation Study SPD provides urban design analysis and information, but not prescriptive advice about how development should be designed.

The preparation of this SPD has been carried out over the course of 2014-2019. The Council adopted the Ipswich Urban Characterisation Study SPD for Norwich Road; Gipping and Orwell Valley; Parks; California and Chantry, Stoke Park and Maidenhall in 2015; and the final three Urban Characterisation Studies for North East, South East and Castle Hill, Whitehouse and Whitton were adopted by Ipswich Borough Council on 24th July 2019.

The suite of Urban Character Studies is now complete, with documents for all 8 character areas being adopted at Full Council. These documents will encourage new development to be appropriate to its context and encourage high quality design in the borough.


The documents can be viewed on the Ipswich Borough Council website:-



Ipswich Town Centre & Waterfront Public Realm Strategy

Investing in the public realm is an investment in placemaking, business and community. Improving the spaces used for shopping, recreation and other aspects of daily life is a cost effective way to support local businesses and improve the quality of life for residents, and to make the town function better, make it more welcoming for visitors and more attractive as a heritage and recreational destination.

The Ipswich Town Centre and Waterfront Public Realm Strategy SPD provides design guidance for the renewal of Ipswich town centre’s public spaces, including the waterfront quays and green spaces within the central area, mostly churchyards (the study does not include the main urban parks, such as Christchurch or Holywells).

It sets out 3 objectives for public realm improvements: improving connectivity between key places; improving legibility and permeability; and creating a coherent identity for the town centre and its character areas.

40 projects are described which will deliver the objectives. The potential for improvement in each case is illustrated with plans and photographs. In addition, two area-wide projects are identified, a local nodes project and cultural trails project. Generic design guidance is provided for the study area, covering categories such as street tree planting, paving specification and lighting design. Project delivery and the importance of stakeholder engagement are included, and appendices of the SPD provide additional guidance on design and highways maintenance / management issues.


The document can be viewed on the Ipswich Borough Council website:-


Rebecca Styles, IBC Conservation Officer