(‘The most important planning application in my 10-year tenure with the Society's planning brief.' -M.C.)
The developer, Crest Nicholson's, outline planning application (16/00608/OUT) for about 1,100 dwellings, a local commercial centre, a primary school, sports facilities, a Country Park with a separate access from Westerfield Road, two vehicular accesses from Henley Road, a vehicle bridge and a pedestrian/cycle bridge across the railway together with drainage, landscaping and infrastructure works on the agricultural land north of the railway and east of Henley Road was granted permission.
Duncan Innes, Regional Director of Crest Nicolson, a skilled presenter, made an excellent case for his company; promising a high standard of design and to make it a national keynote site. He was almost apologetic about what the firm had done at the Hayhill Allotments site.
• We have supported the concept of an Ipswich Garden Suburb ever since 2006; but we must insist that the design be of the highest quality. We are comforted that Crest Nicholson had changed its colours as regard design and that their new architect promised new standards. We will hold them to that.
• What are the desired destinations? Not so much the town centre but Cambridge, Colchester and London to the west; schools, the hospital, Futura Park and Ransomes Europark and Felixstowe to the east.
• There is no mention in the Travel Plan of any attempt to relieve what is likely to be gridlock on the Valley, Colchester and Heath Roads and Chevallier Street.
• Despite a high quality double track railway running through the middle of the development (and Westerfield station nearby), there is no mention of any involvement of the railway authorities in the Transport Plan. There are many opportunities here - digital signalling would allow very frequent services; new small stations would allow easy access to the main line and to desired destinations, particularly to the east.
• Whilst we support granting permission to this outline application, it is vital that Ipswich Borough Council holds the developers to high design standards and to being more imaginative in the Travel Plan. This is a signature development.