Two outline proposals for residential development have been put forward for the southern most proportion of what might be called the southern most portion of the Northern Fringe. The sites are the current Ipswich School playing fields, behind the houses on the north side of Valley Road and to the east of the sports club in Henley Road and the fields beyond but on the town side of the railway line. It must be emphasised that the true Northern Fringe proposals in the Local Plan are for land beyond the railway.
The first. by Ipswich School governors, is to utilise farming land they own on Tuddenham Road beyond the new cemetery next to the railway for a much enlarged sports field for their own (now 50% female) pupils and for other schools as well as colleges. To pay for this they intend to develop their current playing fields as a residential area with around 450 market homes, an old people's home with access from Vere Gardens, an open space and a 'community' centre. Access would be from Valley Road, not across the vacant plot which remains unavailable, but by enlargement of the existing narrow access by demolishing a comfortable five bedroom 1920s house. They suggest that there would be an improved pedestrian and cycle access using an unspecified route.
The second proposal, by Mersea Homes, is for the adjacent fields for a development of 1,100 homes (30% affordable), local shops, a primary school and a large open space. There would be two access roads from Westerfield Road and it would be served by a new bus route as well as improved pedestrian and cycle access by the Fonnereau Way.
The Society had believed that though these sites were allocated to mixed residential use in the Local Development Frameworks and the Local Plan we had assumed that they would not be developed until all brownfield, small greenfield and windfall sites had been used up. This would deliver the requirements of the East Anglian Regional Spatial Strategy (EARSS) of2007. However, and this is a big BUT, we have discovered that the National Housing Planning and Advisory Unit (NHPAU) has increased the current 2021 requirement of 23,000 housing units to a low of 26,000 and a high of 31,000 new units. These figures, whilst extremely worrying, are not yet confirmed. Suffolk County Council as the statutory authority is currently testing them and will report later in the year. Ipswich Borough Council remains totally opposed to the proposals. If however the Council is forced to increase the new build numbers, then it is likely that new build will become necessary on these sites.
Until then we are totally opposed to any development on these sites for the following reasons:
- It is not in the Development Plan
- It is not needed to achieve Ipswich Borough's new build targets.
- It is piecemeal development without an overall master plan.