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Ipswich gets £10m boost to encourage new homes on Northern Fringe

PUBLISHED: 10:55 01 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:58 01 February 2018

Work has begun on the Northern Fringe Development on Henley Road.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Work has begun on the Northern Fringe Development on Henley Road. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich Council is to get nearly £10m from the government to help boost new infrastructure in the new Garden Suburb development on the northern fringe of the town.

David Ellesmere hopes the award will speed up work on the Garden Suburb. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILDavid Ellesmere hopes the award will speed up work on the Garden Suburb. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

It will allow new roads and drainage to be installed – and also to allow the construction of new bridges over the East Suffolk rail line and the development of a new country park between the suburb and Westerfield.

The borough bid for the cash from the government’s new Housing Infrastructure Fund last year – and has now been told it will get £9.868m to go towards the infrastructure projects.

The hope is that developers will now be able to spend more money on building affordable homes for rent and for shared equity if they do not have to spend so much on developing expensive infrastructure.

Eventually up to 3,500 new homes will be built in the Garden Suburb stretching from Henley Road to Tuddenham Road across the north of the town.

Map of the Northern Fringe Development - it is split into three areas by the rail line and Westerfield RoadMap of the Northern Fringe Development - it is split into three areas by the rail line and Westerfield Road

There will also be new schools, businesses, and neighbourhood shopping centres in the development – and two new bridges over the rail line, one will be for vehicles and the other for pedestrians and cyclists.

Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere said the authority still had to receive details of the award – but it sounded very hopeful.

He said: “We are still waiting to hear from the government – but if we have got £9.9m it means we have got almost all that we asked for and it should make a big difference.”

As well as increasing the amount of social housing likely to be built, it should also speed up the development process.

The government is spending a total of £866m on projects across the country – £98.6m in the East of England – in a move welcomed by Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid.

He said: “My priority is building the homes this country desperately needs.

“This first wave of investment in projects across the East of England will help get up to 22,000 homes off the ground, making a huge difference to communities across the region.

“This is just one of the many ways this Government is taking action to get Britain building homes again.”

The government is also giving £5.5m to boost ne infrastructure projects to boost housing developments in the Northern Gateway at Colchester.

Three neighbourhoods will make up Ipswich Garden Suburb

The development of Ipswich Garden Suburb has been a hot political topic since the late 1980s when the first attempts to build new homes on the town’s original northern fringe were proposed.

They were successfully opposed by the borough – but even then planners realised that ultimately the area would need to be developed as the town expanded.

Now there are proposals to develop the area from Henley Road to Tuddenham Road in three distinct packages – Henley Gate, Fonnereau and Red House.

Each are controlled by different developers – and preparatory work on the Henley Gate neighbourhood between the rail line and Westerfield is the first to have started.

Fonnereau, between Westerfield Road, Henley Road, the rail line and Valley Road is expected to also start soon with Red House between Westerfield Road and Tuddenham Road the last to be developed.

Infrastructure will create a community in Ipswich Garden Suburb

Although much of the attention on the Ipswich Garden Suburb has been focussed on the new homes that will built, the infrastructure is crucial to the success of the development.

The money will enable new roads to be built on the development and new drainage. It will enable the new country park planned as a buffer between the development and Westerfield to be safeguarded. And it will allow two bridges, one for vehicles and one for pedestrians to be built across the railway line.

One piece of infrastructure not directly mentioned – but may follow – is the construction of a new northern relief road for Ipswich.

That would link the Ipswich Garden Suburb to the A14 Claydon junction and the A12 at Martlesham – with the construction of the thousands of new homes crucial to the economic case for the new road that would ease congestion across the town.

If they thought they could break the community spirit of this close-knit village community, they were sorely mistaken.

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