Many will have heard that planning permission for the Northern Fringe has been refused. Unfortunately, this is quite untrue. For a major development impacting on transport, access, education, drainage and nature, Suffolk County Council is a statutory consultee. Thus its Officers produced a report for the SCC Cabinet which, after due consideration, has sent the Borough Council a damning comment on the hybrid application. This confirms all that the objectors have been saying on transport, access, education and nature. They say that owing to inadequate evidence and a poor transport model, it is unlikely to agree to the development.
The report is lengthy and it is available on either councils' website.
At the Ipswich Borough Full Council Meeting on November 18, the adoption of the Ipswich Local Development Plan: Core Strategies and Policies Review, after a twelve week public consultation, was agreed. The Society will be replying formally in due course. This early review is partly necessitated by the adoption of a Supplementary Planning Document for the Northern Fringe. Overall, the Plan will be for 3,500 dwellings on the Northern Fringe, 677 new dwellings annually with 12,500 new jobs over the period of the plan which extends to 2031.
32 The Sandlings. B & M Retail (prop. Sir Terry Leahy, late of Tesco) have been persistently selling small items including food and textiles which is against the terms of their planning permission. A failed appeal has not stopped this and nor has the council's recourse to law. After much discussion the company has reapplied to continue trading in the style it has become used to with a condition that it will open a second store in Ipswich town centre within the next five years. This would then satisfy all parties, except perhaps for B&Q and Morrisons, which companies had their planning application for a supermarket on the nearby B&Q site refused because this retail estate is not designed to accommodate convenience shopping (food).
Regatta Quay. The new developer wishes to insert a thirteenth floor (the last one, one would have thought, to make it successful!). No digital visualisations nor fresh plans are available to make a rational decision on what effect this would have on the medieval street scene on and around the Waterfront. Whilst applying to increase the income from their development, they are also applying to reduce the tax on the profit of their development, otherwise known as Section 106: they claim that any payments would render the scheme unviable. Thus, it will be assessed by a valuer and surveyor - no longer a District Valuer - who will report to the Officers in due course and secret discussions will determine the outcome. John Norman spoke, with my support, to great effect, I felt, at the last meeting. Last week, he wasn't allowed to speak again. The Committee passed it nem con, persuaded by the man from Saville's that it was good for the town. When you complain at the finished article, don't forget that the Society has always objected every time to these skyscrapers. They are too big for the their immediate neighbours, they are too big for the Ipswich bowl, they provide little useful housing for the less well-off in Ipswich and now they have successfully claimed they cannot afford to pay their due taxes!
St Clements Hospital site. Demolition of ancillary 19th & 20th century buildings and conversion of main mid-1860s, locally listed, hospital building to form 48 dwellings: 12 houses, 10 duplexes and 26 apartments. Additionally, everything else except the social club, The Hollies and a residual mental health facility will be demolished and 179 new dwellings from 1 to 5 bed units erected. A new local park, on Foxhall Road and sports facilities with improvement to the social club will be provided. This outline application (i.e. we do not yet know the details of the design etc.) is basically the same as the developers and the council failed to come to agreement on previously; they have now done so, settling for £1.2m education, £200,000 highways, £860,000 for open space and 20% affordable housing. Compared to the developer's previous stance of sticking to 4.5%, this is a triumph for the planners.